Favorites come in at the track, but that doesn’t mean you should always bet them. While it’s true that the crowd is pretty good at picking winners, it’s also true that they often make favorites out of picks that shouldn’t be better than a longshot.
For instance, many times, you’ll see a favorite that has just come back from a layoff and has had an impressive non-betting race. For greyhounds, it’s a schooling race. For horses, it’s a conditioning race to make sure that the horse can run the pace.
Watch what happens when one of these contenders runs a really fast race. In its first real race afterwards, the crowd usually picks it for the favorite. Early money goes down on it and then the punters fall into line like dominoes.
99 times out of 100, the favorite runs a lousy race and the crowd is baffled. “How can this be when it had such a good time in the non-betting race?” they wonder. Well, how many other contenders were there in the non-betting race?
What were the conditions of that race, if you can even figure that out? What post position was it in and who was running beside it? Was the race set up to suit its running style, unlike the real race it’s in today? All of these factors can make a so-so entrant look better than it is.
The bottom line with contenders that are coming back from a layoff is this: Give them one good race before you bet them, no matter how much of a favorite they are. Sure, you’ll miss a couple of favorites that come in. But you’ll lose a lot less money that you would have lost on the many favorites that don’t run in the money in their first race back after a layoff.
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