Handicapping Horse Racing Tips Without Stats and Numbers

by Earl Campbell | March 18, 2020 |

It doesn’t matter if you are a world class handicapper, a trainer looking for the ideal conditions for a 3-year old gelding or if you are a jockey sitting in the jocks room trying to find the best route to a win, it always pays to just be simple and use some common sense when breaking down the ponies.  

Far too often, we see people at the horse racing tracks who are breaking down workouts by quarter poles, finding which jockey is best on dirt vs. grass, and everyone is looking for the added edge to get that winner but truth be told, most times that edge you are looking for is right in front of you but we confuse the situation with convoluted stats and numbers. 

In this article, we will cover some strong pointers to consider when handicapping horses on your own without giving yourself a headache over stats and numbers.  We strongly urge you to utilize the information we provide here at Spooky Express as we will have information that isn’t readily available in the Daily Racing Form and that is word of mouth on the backstretch and first hand from jockey’s exercise riders, trainers, hot walkers, owners and grooms from the stable area.  

Spend 5 minutes in the stable area at a local horse racing track and you will see people talking in the corner stalls about horses that are running that day and “Hot tips” that they’ve heard about.  

This is what we have put together for you with Earl’s Horse Racing Plays.  These plays are given out daily and come straight from the backstretch and stable area.  This has been very successful for us over the past 6 months, dating back to April when we made this a part of our Platinum Play’s Package.  We started with just 1-source of information and have since grown to the point that we have 6 emails coming in, early in the morning, which tell us the info we need.   

If you simply look at last week, we gave out a total of 28 horses in 6 days and ended up with 18 winners and 6 that ran 2nd or 3rd.  We had a $18.60 winner, and 6 horses that paid double digits, $10.00 or more.  

Granted, we also give out several horses that are going off as the favorite but with those horses, you want to play them in a parlay over at MyBookie or WagerWeb and capitalize on getting the best bang for your buck.  If you have questions about how to parlay horses to make the most money off a favorite, simply leave us a comment or send us an email and we will gladly explain.  

Now, let’s talk about how we get these horses besides word of mouth and “Hot Tips”.  

Race Conditions and Class

First hand info coming from a trainer at Laurel Park, the single most important thing to them is the conditions of the race and is the horse placed appropriately.  Many times, especially around this time of year, we will see a horse that has 2 wins fresh and running in a much lower race because the trainers can’t find a race that fits the horses criteria. 

Many people don’t take this into consideration when betting on horses.  If you see a horse that has been running at the claiming ranks and not winning, yet makes a major jump in class to allowance, the connections may simply be using that race as a buffer race because there is nothing else available for the horse.  

This happens often for owners of horses that have family headed to the track on a specific day and simply want to have a horse running.  They don’t care if the horse wins or loses, they just want to be there and see their horses run. By process of elimination, you can pretty much scratch that horse off your form as chances are it isn’t gonna win that race.  

Track Conditions

One of the major issues that we run into on a daily basis for handicapping horses is track conditions.  Keep in mind that these horses are entered far in advance and some just don’t like running on off tracks.  Some horses do well on sloppy tracks, where others don’t like mudd being spit up on their faces and will just stop running.  

Always take this into consideration when playing the ponies as you can usually tell by simply looking at the horse when they step on the track.  If you see that the horse is raising their legs real high and sort of not wanting to put their feet down, mark that horse off your list because chances are, that horse is not winning that race…..might not even finish the race. 

Different horses run differently on varying track conditions.  Be sure to check this each and every time you bet the horses to put the added edge in your corner.  

Breeding and Genetics

A horses pedigree is very important, especially for 2-year olds that have not had a chance to show what they are capable of.  There are world renown handicappers that make a living betting 2-3 horses a day, mainly 2-year olds, simply based on the genetics of the horse.  

Often times we will see horses bred from top sires like American Pharoah, Animal Kingdom, Into Mischief, Tapit, Quality Road, Curlin, Kitten’s Joy, Speightstown, Candy Ride, Hard Spun and Medaglia D’Oro and they will be racing against much lesser caliber of talent and genetics and as a 2-year old, sometimes that can be the difference in pulling the trigger on a horse and betting him or her and not betting them.  

Jockey & Trainer Connection

Something else to be aware of outside the numbers is the jockey and trainer combo.  Certain trainers routinely will ONLY use the top jockeys for their horses and will only give the stronger riders the stronger horses. This is because you don’t want to waste a race from a horse with a jockey that isn’t strong enough to get the horse home for the win.  

Trainers spend a lot of money just getting the horse ready to race and more than money, they spend a lot of time so that can’t be recouped. Therefore, trainers want to make sure they get the right jockey in the irons to get the job done.  

Additionally, if you see something that looks out of the ordinary, pay attention.  For example, if you see Maryland’s Leading Jockey Trevor McCarthy for example. If you notice that McCarthy has been riding for Trainer Jamie Ness routinely but an out of town trainer comes in with a horse that looks decent, and you notice that McCarthy jumps off his normal mount with Ness to ride another horse, you might want to pay attention as there is a reason why that is happening.  

Maybe that reason is the normal trainer knows the horse isn’t ready to win yet or maybe the jockey has rode the horse in the mornings and knows it needs work, but if there is a change like that, then you should absolutely pay attention to stuff like that. 

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