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Racing News
Wednesday 28th June 2017
How to Play the Ponies Like a Pro

You want to know what? Placing a wager on anything always makes it more interesting. It could be horseshoes, a potato sack race, or even a horse race. Why not? Horse racing is the sport of kings, so it makes sense that a gentleman’s bet would be sure to follow.

In fact, the history of betting on horse races is almost as old as the history of racing itself. Fast forward to today and it doesn’t matter if it the Grand National, the Triple Crown races in America, or the fifth race at your local track, odd are that you can lay down some action on which horse you think will come out on top. With that in mind, here is a brief primer on how to play the ponies like a pro.

What to Look For

For a professional, the fifth race at a local track is an easy affair to handicap. The reason for this is that the field is not very good. As such, your best bet in these races is not to play which horse will win but rather look at the field and try to determine who you like to either place or show.

Just keep in mind that this strategy only works for your run of the mill races. Any sweepstakes race or another race with a big purse (i.e. winnings) will bring out the best of the best. In this case, it become a bit harder to determine how the field will shake out. In these situations, you will want to look at the which horses the professional handicappers are choosing. Just remember to do your homework by considering a range of opinions.

One thing to wary of in these races is a younger horse as they generally lack the experience – especially against quality talent. As such, it is usually a good idea to stay away from these horses.

Hunting for Clues

When it comes to horse racing, experience is everything. As such, you want to narrow down the field to a few horses and see how your pick have fared on similar length course against comparable competition, and in similar conditions.

For example, a horse which has a tremendous record in shorter races might not run well against quality competition on longer course – even if it is only a quarter of a mile, the extra length can really add up. This is something to keep in mind as you try to figure out which horse will come out on top.

Breeding Counts

I know that life has become a bit more meritorious but when it comes to the ponies, breeding counts. Get to know your favorite horses and their bloodline. How did the horse’s parents perform, what about their grandparents? Granted, the horse will still have to run the race but you can use this information to figure out which horse might have something extra in the tank.

At the same time, look at the trainer, farm, and jockeys. Find out about their tactics and training methods as these might give you some subtle clues as to which horses will perform better on race day.

Get Digital

As you can see there is a lot of information to take into consideration when playing the ponies. The best way to make sense of all this data is to get digital. This will give you the opportunity to pound through the data you have brought together to run your analyses.

In many ways, data is a blessing, and a curse, when it comes to horse racing and some tracks will have upwards of 100-years or more of information at their fingertip. As such you might want to consider an online tool.

One which you can use to find the horse racing ratings is This site will give you an overview the best horse and the best races and while you might not use their recommendations all the time, it does give you some extra information to consider.

Parting Shots: Keep it Simple

Yes, there is a lot of information that goes into playing the ponies like a pro. But the worst thing you can do is to over-intellectualize the process. Like every bet, there is always an element of risk as such, keep it simple and don’t get tempted by winning big your first time at the track.