I like to handicap tracks that give more information, don’t you? This is why Daytona Beach, Mardi Gras and Tri State are my favorite tracks to handicap now.
They’re the only tracks that actually print First To Turn Time in their programs. It used to be that almost every track reported this in their programs and it was a great handicapping tool. By the way, Daytona Beach is the ONLY track that reports First To Turn Time, CSR and Best Time for each dog.
Tri State gives you First To Turn Time and also Best Time for each dog. Wheeling Downs and Southland give CSR and Best Time for each dog. CSR or Consolidated Speed Rating, can help handicap both speed and class.
When you handicap one of these tracks, try to use First To Turn Times to figure out which dogs are going to be going into the first turn together and where those dogs run on the track. This way, you can get some idea of which dogs might be running into each other or getting in each other’s way.
The first turn is notorious for accidents, bumps and even dogs flying the turn, as they say. Cornering at up to 45 mph with four legs is tricky, even for a greyhound. I pay special attention to dogs that run outside or wide when I look at first turn calls. Dogs that run inside, of course, have an advantage, but only if they’re going to be on the inside at the turn.
If I see that a dog has more than one trouble comment for the first turn, I make sure that I do my best to imagine which other dogs will be affected by this. I’ve saved myself some money by realizing that a dog that looks like a contender probably will be in a pileup on the first turn because of another dog.
Track condition can play a big role in how easily the dogs make it around the first turn, also. In the first few races, the track is liable to have been groomed into good condition. It’s firm and the dogs can get traction as they go around it.
By the later races though, especially if the track isn’t raked or watered down, there can be a lot of loose dirt on the first turn. This can lead to dogs sliding or even stubbing their toes. Sometimes, this actually favors the slower dogs that get to the turn after the leaders.
At a slower speed and without other dogs to bump them, sometimes the closers come out of the first turn in better shape than the breakers. Look at the dogs that run mid track or inside in later races and see how they do on the first turn. Pay particular attention to which dogs run outside and wide, because these dogs often are at a big disadvantage in the later races, if the track hasn’t been groomed.