I’ve mentioned before that I used to like to bet on closers, dogs who put on a burst of speed at the end of the race. There’s nothing more exciting than a finish where one of these dogs comes from behind and nips the leader at the wire in a surprise win.
Of course, it’s only exciting if you have the closer on your ticket. Most of the bettors won’t have it, because most of the bettors bet early speed. They have a logical reason for that. Early speed wins a lot of races. However, there’s a place for closers. The bettors who know how to tell when a closer has a good chance to win are the people who cash big tickets.
There’s a myth out there about closers. Many people think that closers only win route races, not sprints. This just isn’t true, as you can see if you check over your old programs. (You do have your old programs, right?) Closers come in much more often than most people think they do in sprints.
Oftentimes in a sprint, one of the dogs in a trifecta is a closer who worked its way steadily through the pack, got to within a couple lengths of early speed leaders and then closed on them until it was second or third at the wire. The reason that people don’t notice this is because the early speed dogs are flashier when they get out of the box like gangbusters and race to the wire.
The closer, in the meantime, gets out of the box in the middle or back of the pack, takes a while to get going and steadily gains on the leaders until the end of the race where it has worked its way up to second or third. There’s nothing exciting about a closer with this running style and most people don’t even notice how this “slow and steady” approach wins the race.
Of course, this is all relative. “Slow and steady” and “takes a while” in a greyhound race is a matter of seconds. Closers are still fast, like all greyhounds. It’s just that their speed doesn’t show until later in the race.
If you want to cash in big on closers, you have to handicap very carefully, taking into consideration whether the closer will be able to do what it does when it runs in the money. Because they need running room and the right setup, give a lot of consideration to post position and the running styles of the dogs next to the closer.
Be especially aware of whether the early speed dogs in the race are liable to fade in the stretch. If they are, the closer’s chances are a lot better and you should definitely give it consideration in your handicapping. Likewise, if the early speed dogs don’t have as much class or consistency as the closer, the closer has a better shot at passing them near the end of the race.
Closers can be goldmines, but only if you bet them when they have everything going for them. Don’t bet them when the race favors the early speed dogs. Wait until you see a race where closers have a good chance and are at long or decent odds. Like the closers, you have to hang back and wait until everything comes together to help you win.