Dog Racing or Horse Racing: Which is Harder to Handicap?

Anyone who knows me, will tell you that I’m a dyed in the wool dog racing fan. They’ll also tell you that I’m a stubborn old so-and-so but one who is willing to admit it when I’m wrong. (Well, if you hit me over the head with proof or get me to see your point of view to the point where I can’t deny you’re right, that is, I’ll admit I’m wrong.) So, okay, when it comes to horse racing not being as exciting, rewarding or playable as dog racing, I have to admit that I’ve changed my mind. Or, I guess I should say, had it changed for me.

The reason I’ve decided that horse racing might be almost as good as dog racing, is partly because I haven’t been able to make it to a dog track on a regular basis for months. I haven’t seen any live dog racing for almost a year. Old Man Time caught up with me and health problems are forcing me to stay in New England for the time being, so the only live racing action I get to see is horse racing. Of course, that doesn’t stop me from watching greyhound racing at the NH tracks or handicapping them. I’ll never stop watching greyhound races or trying to improve my handicapping skills.

Luckily, I have a good friend, Bill Peterson, who has gone to the track with me for years, playing the dogs with me, but also steadily trying to win me over to the sport of kings. Even though I resisted, he just kept plugging, pointing out good bets in his Daily Racing Form, while I pondered the 3/8th races at Wheeling and wondered if the 1 box would stay hot or not. One look at the long form that is horse handicapping was enough to put me off. With a dog program, you have 8 dogs with 6 lines and some stats off to the right. You have the kennel name and the kennel stats and that’s about it.

With thoroughbreds, there are all these mysterious symbols and more numbers than there are in a stock market report. I didn’t want to learn about Beyer figures and fractional times and jockey/trainer stats. One of the things I love about greyhounds is that they don’t have jockeys to slow them down or steer them the wrong way. You put 8 greyhounds on a track, turn on the lure and they’re off, going as fast as they can and running the best way they know how.

With horses, who knows what the trainer tells the jockey to do with the horse? Who knows if the horse’s fractions will hold up in this Allowance race, based on what he did in a Maiden Claimer he won two weeks ago? I don’t, that’s for damned sure. But, patiently, Bill just kept pointing out little things that show that a horse is ready to win or be in the exacta.  One day, a few months ago at a simulcast venue, I went up to bet a dog in the 7th at Palm Beach and found myself telling the tote that I wanted $2 to win on the 1 at Aqueduct instead. And it won, just like Bill said it would. At odds of 8-1. I was hooked.

Have I given up dog racing? Not likely. It’s still my first choice and I find it a lot easier to handicap for the most part. However, with Bill’s help, I’ve been improving at this horse handicapping game, finding some shortcuts and noticing that it’s not quite as complicated as it looks. And that’s a good thing, because I’m all for simplifying everything, including finding winners at the track, whether it’s a dog track or a horse track.

Posted in greyhound handicapping, Horse Racing | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Spot Plays – You Have to Know How to Play Them

Spot plays are dogs that are very likely to win because of some special situation or characteristic that’s present in the race they’re in. It might be because of their running style compared to the other dogs.

It might be because something in the set up of this race indicates that they’re ready to win. A good handicapping system will help you find them, but that’s not enough to make money on them. The reason most people don’t make money on these dogs is because they try to handicap them.

That’s right. While handicapping is a good thing, it doesn’t work when you’re just playing dogs because they’re spots. So many bettors make this mistake. They get a spot play method and then try to handicap the dogs it picks.

If they don’t think the dog looks good, they don’t bet it. That’s foolish! The reason these dogs pay so much is exactly because they DON’T look good. If they showed their potential, everyone would bet them and they wouldn’t pay like they do.

So, get yourself a good spot play system. Use it to find them and don’t try to second guess it. If you’re going to handicap, do it with the other dogs. And you can even do it with the other dogs in the race where there’s a spot play, just don’t let that influence you too much.

I’ve seen so many spots come in when I was totally convinced that they didn’t have a shot in Hades of making the board. The thing about these dogs is that they don’t know that they’re up against long odds.

They run their best races, because of the special situation they’re in. They have more pizazz than the other dogs and that gives them an edge. You’ll be surprised at what they can do, and you’ll cash quite a few big tickets if you remember to play them without over-analyzing them.

Posted in dog racing tips, free racing tips, how to win at the dog track | Tagged | Leave a comment