Greyhound Handicapping: Don’t Go Off the Rails

Handicapping a greyhound program can be overwhelming. There’s so much information that it’s hard to take it all in, never mind analyze it and use it to pick winners. For instance, there’s post position. Many people think it’s more important than any other factor. Then you bump into someone who thinks it doesn’t matter at all and you wonder why you’ve been putting it first when you go over the program.

Well, post position IS important. But it’s only one factor amongst several that you need to really compare as you analyze races. I think the hardest part of handicapping is knowing which of the many things that matter will matter the most in this race. That’s one of those things that’s a lot easier to figure out AFTER the race, of course. When you watch the replay where the 3 broke and immediately took a right and also took out the 4 through the 7, which left the 8, which broke out fast, to head for the rail, which the 1 and the 2 had abandoned to run midtrack, so that the winner – at 6-1 – was the 8, even though the 5 was the big favorite because it had just dropped down from stakes races.

If you managed to follow all of that, you’ll see that the most important things in that race were the way the 3 broke and slashed over to the right, the fact that the 8 would outbreak everyone and also the fact that the 1 and the 2 ran midtrack, not inside, so they left the rail open for the fast-breaking 8. The reason I remember all these details is because I bet on this race. I had the 8 to win but I also had it in a quiniela with the 7, because I thought they might break together. So, for a $2 bet, I got $14 for the win and that’s not shabby.

However, if I had really analyzed the race and paid more attention to that 3 and its running style, I would have saved myself $2. That was easy to see after the race. Not so easy to see before it. This will happen to you many times, if you go to the track often. You’ll miss something like this and beat yourself up for it after the race, especially if it costs you more than $2. Don’t let it get to you.

If you want to make money at the dog track, you have to risk money. You’ll lose more times than you win, no matter how good you get at handicapping. The goal is to make more money than you lose. Don’t ever lose sight of that. Keep poring over races, looking for what will really influence the dogs in that race. If you do it often enough, you’ll get better at spotting situations that can make you money – or lose you money if you miss them and bet the wrong dog.

(This is an excerpt from Book 5 of Greyhound Handicapping Books 1-6 available in paperback, Kindle on Amazon)

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When to Play Dogs That Run Outside and Wide

One of my favorite dogs was Josie Lane. She used to break out of the box, even an inside box, and veer sharply over to the extreme outside of the track where she’d very often be when she came in first several lengths ahead of the other dogs.

Some people used to say that she ran so wide, only the fence kept her out of the parking lot. She didn’t though. She ran outside. There’s a difference, although it might sound technical. Dogs like Josie Lane are outside runners. They prefer to run along the outside of the track.

Now, this might seem to give them a disadvantage, because they run farther than the dogs that run along the inside of the track. However, if you think about it, the outside runners who run in the money are very strong dogs. Not only do they run farther, but they run faster than the other dogs.

Outside dogs aren’t as prevalent as inside and mid track dogs, and the farther up the grade ladder you go, the fewer there are. Even rarer at any grade are dogs that run wide and manage to win, place or show. Wide runners, unlike outside runners, run along on the inside or the middle of the track, but go wide at times.

Most of the time, it’s on corners, possibly because they’ve had problems with being knocked down by other dogs in the past on corners. More rarely, it’s on the straightaways that they move over to the very outside of the track.

This running pattern isn’t one that gives them an advantage, especially if they start out in an inside or mid track box. Outside runners, on the other hand, sometimes do very well from an inside or mid track post position, if they break well and get to the part of the track that they prefer.

Sometimes, chart writers will indicate that a dog runs wide, when it really runs outside or vice versa. Sometimes, the comment says that it runs “wide and outside” which really confuses the issue. It’s up to the greyhound handicapper to take note of as many dogs as possible so that they’ll know what their running style is.

If you see a dog in the higher grades, and its comments say that it runs outside or wide, take careful note of how the other dogs run and also how that dog has done from the post position it’s in for this particular race. That’s the key to figuring out whether post position will help or hurt it in its present race.

(This is an excerpt from Book 5 of Greyhound Handicapping Books 1-6 available in paperback, Kindle and Kindle Unlimited on Amazon)

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