Weekly Handicapping Contest

I just wanted to start up another betting/handicapping contest for us to do on a weekly basis that has more flexible rules. For right now, I wanted to see what you all are interested in doing for this.

I was thinking maybe the winner each week could choose the following week's theme. For example, one weekend we could handicap a few 2yo maiden races, or a few dirt sprints, or do all stakes races. We could also just stick to a particular racetrack for a weekend, or base the theme off of a particular betting type (all win bets, all exactas, etc.).

Another option is that we could have a few set races, and each player gets $50 to work with. If you're particularly confident in a race, you might bet $20 on that one race and not bet on some other races you're not sure about.

We could also have educational posts about how the different bets work, so that you're always learning. I think it would be really interesting if we gave our reasons for picking each individual horse (even if it's just a quick sentence or "I liked the trainer/jockey combination").

I'm completely open to ideas though, so please let me know what YOU want to do.


  • KMMKMM Member
    I like the idea of choosing like races and specific betting or handicapping strategy for each group of races to learn about an individual type of bet before amping it up. Maybe stay away from stakes races for time being and leave it to the other thread.
  • WezzieWezzie Member
    Sounds interesting. I enjoy the other game but I am game for learning about the handicapping aspects.
  • Yeah, I was thinking of maybe limiting this game to maybe 3-4 races per week so that we aren't overwhelmed with it. I do think we should try to limit ourselves to the big racetracks so that we can easily find Past Performances if necessary. My initial thought is to let people play $50 a weekend however they decide to spend it, but we can do something else too.

    Possible Themes:
    - maiden races
    - 2yo races (could be maidens or stakes)
    - claiming races
    - turf sprints
    - dirt routes
    - Belmont Park only
    - Santa Anita Park only
    - fillies and mares
    - win bets only
    - Pick 4 (if nobody nails it, we just determine who got the closest for the winner)
    - exactas (if nobody nails an exacta, we just determine who got the closest for the winner)
  • KMMKMM Member
    Let us stay away from stakes races for time being, to be independent from other thread, and to invite other participants. Let us start with 2 year olds, maybe 2 or 3 races, turf or dirt, or mix it up?
  • tincuptincup Member
    I like the idea of an exotic wagering contest.
  • KMMKMM Member
    Thanks tincup; maybe you can guide?
  • tincuptincup Member
    KMM said:

    Thanks tincup; maybe you can guide?

    I always get in trouble.
    I'll add support though
  • Why would you get in trouble @tincup? If you want to do it, please feel free to help educate.
  • Okay -- I have a really really dumb question lol Is exotic wagering in race horses the same as in racing greyhounds? I've bet on dogs before, but never on horses (too intimidating and no one will go with me to the local track!) If no one has an answer, I get it, dogs are no comparison to horses in excitement level, but I just thought I'd ask. Thanks!
  • Honestly, I'm not sure. I've never really followed greyhound racing so I don't know how it compares to horse racing. Maybe you can describe the different types of exotic wagers for greyhound racing, or link me to an article/website that discusses it?
  • I guess I could have googled exotic wagering in horse racing in the first place, but if anyone is curious, this is greyhounds.

  • I've never heard of quinella bets in horse racing, but other than that it looks almost identical.
  • Thank you, Jae. :)
  • tincuptincup Member
    Maybe a pick 4 contest.
    Winner picks the track and the sequence of races for the following Saturday or Sunday. Each player would have a fifty dollar cap that would work toward a one dollar play.

    Almost every track offers a pick four
    Some offer two, an early pick four and a late pick four. More often then not they will involve the same group of races each week.
    The actual races are available each week as a race card is drawn, just the same as we already see.
    Formulators are available at sites like equibase.

    So a person might say...Saturday july 1st...Santa Anita early pick four
    Starts at the second race in this case and runs through the 5th.
    The late pick four at Belmont
    Or gulfstream
    And on
  • lizzielizzie Member
    edited June 2017
    We love quinellas! (In fact, we hit a couple of nice ones last night at ShaTin.) Half the price of an exacta using same amount of horses. We like to play them in most of the overseas races. We jump on then when they a are offered in the US races.

    I love this idea jae!!! I would say there is no reason to eliminate stakes races as it a totally different format. It may be difficult to leave out a stakes in a pick 4 type situation.

    So many options for handicappers/bettors and great way to learn up on the different betting styles for those wanting to try something different, without having to spend any $$. I know Tincup and myself as well as other experienced handicappers/bettors here woukd be happy to help explain, guide, etc.

    Fun! Fun! Fun!
  • Yeah, I know a lot about exotic wagering in theory, but I've never really done it too much. I've tried a few Pick 4s in the past (not with real money) and I'd like to try to get better at it. I don't really want to exclude stakes races entirely either, but I certainly don't want them to be the focus here.

    Any requests for next week's theme? I know it's the Summit of Speed at Gulfstream Park, so we could do some dirt sprints (including maybe one of the stakes at Gulfstream). We've also got enough 2yo races to work with now, so we could also do those if you guys are interested.
  • lizzielizzie Member
    Tincup and I have been having a blast playing the 2 year old trials at Los Alamitos lately. I don't know if you'd want to play with the quartehourse, but they are so much fun!

    I love the whole idea jae! I've only been handicapping for a few years and still love to learn new ways to play a race card. This ought to be fun and educational.

    Harness racing is fun too!
  • KMMKMM Member
    Let's go for it!
  • Let's go with some 2yo MSW races on Saturday then for this weekend's theme. Coincidentally, they all happen to be turf races as well haha.

    Race 1 - Santa Anita: http://www.equibase.com/static/entry/SA070117USA-EQB.html#RACE1
    Race 5 - Belmont: http://www.equibase.com/static/entry/BEL070117USA-EQB.html#RACE5
    Race 2 - Gulfstream: http://www.equibase.com/static/entry/GP070117USA-EQB.html#RACE2

    Rules for this weekend:
    1. $2 bets to Show only - We'll get into some of the fancier bets later, but for right now this is probably the simplest option. Since 2yo maiden races can be tough to pick winners, all your horse has to do is come in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in order to get the payout.
    2. Make your picks prior to post time
    3. Include a reason for your choice - We're all trying to get better at handicapping here, so if you end up with a winner, we want to know what you saw in this horse before the gates opened.

    The person with the highest payout after all three races wins. The winner will get to choose next weekend's theme and one of the races associated with that theme. Second and third place get to choose one race each. Races may be selected as late as Thursday, as we will not know what the entries will be until that time.

    Please try to pick a theme that will have multiple racing options available at the big tracks (Santa Anita/Del Mar, Belmont/Saratoga/Aqueduct, Gulfstream, Oaklawn, Churchill Downs/Keeneland, etc.) next weekend.

    I've delved into my typical handicapping process before, which I will detail again below, but maiden races can be a little trickier.

    Traditional Process:

    I generally try to go for the best value in terms of odds. In order to gauge value, I typically look at the horse's most recent races, see who they were competing against and what their speed figures were (upward trends are something I pay close attention to).

    I also like to look at how many races they've won over a particular surface and distance. If there aren't any obvious standouts, I look at trainers and jockeys then. I'm a huge fan of Keith Desormeaux, so I pick a lot of his horses when I can. Kent Desormeaux does very well on closers, especially on the turf. Flavien Prat is also great on the turf, but I think he does better with frontrunners and other horses closer to the lead. I'm also a big fan of Jerry Hollendorfer and Mike Smith.

    If I still don't know for sure, I'll take a look at post positions and which ones do well over a particular track. I'll also take a look at pedigree and how much the horse was sold for (very high price means they've got good conformation and a good female family).

    Maiden Races:

    With maidens, and especially unraced 2yo maidens, you have to adapt to having much less information available to you in the past performances. Many of them won't have any race history, so you'll have to focus heavily on pedigree, workouts, and their connections (owners, trainers, and jockeys).

    In terms of pedigree, you'll want to look at how often a stallion's offspring win in their first start. You may also want to look at the dam's produce record, especially for 2yo starters. If the horse was sold at auction, pay attention to how much the buyer paid. If it's high for the stallion, the horse likely has a nice female family and good conformation.

    Some trainers have a much higher success rate with first-time starters than others. You may also want to consider whether a horse has successful trainer/jockey combinations, like Pletcher and John Velazquez or Javier Castellano, or Chad Brown and Irad Ortiz, Jr.

    Also, if you've heard any murmurs from the rail birds about a particular 2yo training very well, the rumors are usually true. Pay attention when somebody in the know tells you that they really like an up and coming maiden starter.

    Helpful Links:

    Free Brisnet PPs: http://www.horse-races.net/library/links-pastperformances.htm
    How to read Brisnet PPs: http://www.brisnet.com/library/uwc.pdf


    We're all here just to learn how to better handicap the races and have fun. I'm sure every single one of us will end up "in the basement" for at least one weekend, so don't worry too much if that happens to you.

    If you have any thoughts on this weekend's races, please let us know! The rules may also be adjusted for future weekends, depending on how this weekend's "beta testing" goes. If you guys have any questions about reading the PPs, feel free to ask.
  • Race 1 -- Santa Anita: #10 Old School Ike (pedigree/female family)
    Race 5 -- Belmont: #7 Blue Atlas (pedigree/female family)
    Race 2 -- Gulfstream: #8 Bon Raison (pedigree/female family)

    I'm going to play this week like I play the other game, since we are giving reasons, so I can see how the rest of you win with your own handicapping system. I've never been one too look up workouts and PPs. As a dog breeder, pedigrees are the most important to me, so I pay a huge amount of attention to that, and very little to anything else. I hope that is okay and makes sense. I realize they are short prices, but this is how I will start out.
  • carolinarkansascarolinarkansas hot springs, arkansasMember
    SA 1...#8 Kazan....pedigree/jockey/trainer
    Bel 5....#6 Spa Angel....pedigree/jockey/trainer
    Gulf 2...#3 Channel Cat...pedigree/jockey
  • KMMKMM Member
    Thanks you guys. Thanks for guidelines and tips. It really sounds like fun. I like starting out with 3 races, mostly untested 2 year olds, and turf races. When are entries due? You probably did say above. I am glad that you are starting at the basics. B)
  • Just make your picks before they leave the gate. I'll be cutting picks off of when the Equibase chart says the gates opened.
  • KMMKMM Member
    Thanks for being flexible. I will try to get them beforehand. This is a very interesting thought experiment for me. My Dad was a good handicapper and hooked me on horseracing. My choice for my 16th birthday was to go for dinner and races at Charles town. Oh, so long ago. B) <3
  • KMMKMM Member
    65-16 equals 49 years ago. Geesh. I don't think of myself there yet by any means. Sweet track and good memories for that birthday. Miss my Dad so much!
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