Handicapping Lessons: Thinking Outside the Box

Handicapping and Horse Racing Requires Intuition and Ability of Thinking Outside the Box

As the Road to the Kentucky Derby continues and the Derby prep races become bigger leading up to the first Saturday in May, the interest in the races continues to build. Handicapping horses and the races takes much time, research and intuition. Beyond studying past performance charts, speed figures or jockey and trainer info, a handicapper has to have the insight and ability to find various ways to identify horses that are ready to win. Studying video’s and past performances of races, finding horses that had a troubled trip offering some value next time out, or others in good form are just part of the process to profit at the races.

Some of the Derby prep races will have many of the same horses running over the same track in upcoming races including other Derby preps, so identifying horses that run better on certain tracks or surfaces or with a certain amount of rest are all part of the analysis and different ways to think outside the box.

I’m not a professional horse handicapper, but a background in sports handicapping, betting, statistical analysis and the ability to interpret the data and use experience, instincts and intuition to determine outcomes has helped me become much more proficient than other ‘experts’ or opinionated people.

In connecting with other proficient professionals including some sharp horse racing handicappers and minds like WCHR, it’s apparent that the ability to think outside the box and identify races, situations and performances that can help you win today and lead to future winners and value is a sound way to play the ponies. Like a sports bettor looking for a competitive and solid underdog that can win outright and offers value in the marketplace, a winning horse handicapper is always looking for value and overlays to add to their race wagers, whether as a winner, in the money or to complete exotic wagers.

Another way of thinking outside the box is understanding “how” a horse has run leading up to their race versus, the far less important, “where” the horse finished and in “what” time he/she completed their prior races. Evaluate the field based on pace projections, race shape, track biases, trip analysis, historical patterns for the race type and much more. Information and insight like this is provided by SuperScreener, a partner of Horse Racing Nation.

Remember, seeing what others don’t and/or correctly speculating, plays a big part in distinguishing between a successful handicapper and an average one, and this is the type of mentality you need to take when thinking outside the box. It’s also a mentality many successful horse trainers have, and why many top trainers use their experience and various ways of thinking to identify more ways and patterns to achieve success on their way to bigger races including the Kentucky Derby.

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