5 Important Pieces of Information to use When Handicapping a Horse Race:
by Ed DeRosa
- Brisnet.com Speed Ratings
The best last-out Speed Rating only wins about 30% of the time at its absolute best, but the Brisnet.com Speed Rating isn’t about finding the winner but rather who can win.A horse with the best last-out Speed Rating who is not favored definitely merits consideration as do horses within 1-2 points of the top horse.And sometimes, the favorite just does look that good. While the top-ranked horse by last-out Speed Rating only wins 20%-30% of the time, that number goes up drastically when the second-ranked horse is 5 or even 10 points behind.
- Brisnet.com Prime Power
Prime Power is Brisnet’s most proprietary data point, distilling many pieces of information from a horse’s past performances, comparing it with others in the race, and coming up with a number that not only ranks horses with each other but also the quality of the field. Prime Power can be found in the BRISnet.com Ultimate PPs.
- Brisnet.com Class Ratings
The Class Rating measures a horse’s performance based on the competition in the race and what that competition has accomplished.Speed Ratings are supposed to calibrate across tracks, surfaces, distances, and purse levels, but the reality of racing is that high Speed Ratings are easier to attain in certain conditions (which vary horse to horse). Class Ratings help give an extra indication of a horse’s talent. I’m more inclined to believe Speed Ratings with high Class Ratings to match.
- Trainer-jockey statistics
I use the above three figures to handicap every race in which they’re present (first-time starters have no ratings), but don’t always rely on trainer-jockey standings not because they’re not important but sometimes there’s nothing there.When it comes to statistics, I only take note of the extremes. With small sample sizes, it’s tough to read too much into percentages, which can be easily manipulated by hot and cold streaks. ROI is better indicator because it indicates a trainer or jockey’s ability to spot horses in the condition. Still, even that can be thrown off by one big price.Together, though, when the numbers pop off the page it merits attention. If a trainer does something only 10% of the time but with a positive ROI, then that’s an angle worth paying attention to. If, however, he wins 30% but the ROI is -50% he’s losing with everything but favorites it would seem.And of course, 0-fers and the like must be considered—especially at short prices. If an otherwise 20% trainer is 1-for-81 in a certain category I’ll let him beat me at a short price.
- Track bias statistics
This is another data point I’ll only pay attention to A) with enough of a sample size, and B) at extremes.It’s also another case of winning % not telling the whole story, as Impact Value is a better indicator.I’m most likely to use a statistic like the rail post position producing just 1 winner from 50 races against a favorite than anything else. If I like a 10-to-1, I won’t let that type of stat scare me off, but it can provide the extra push to eliminate fringe contenders or try to beat a favorite. Same goes for running style stats.