Using Stable Alerts as a handicapping tool

February 3rd, 2023

Picture the scene: you’re watching horse races one day and spy an impressive horse you’re certain has a bright future. You’re determined to bet the horse the next time he runs… but then he turns up at a racetrack you never follow and wins at 10-1 without you noticing.

If you’ve ever missed a bet because you weren’t aware your preferred horse was entered to race, we have good news. Stable Alerts from TwinSpires let you know when it’s time to bet. (Stable Alerts is available to registered TwinSpires users and can be viewed upon logging in.)

What are Stable Alerts?

Stable Alerts are a powerful tool. Let’s say you’re watching the fourth race on a Saturday at Churchill Downs and want to follow the winner so you can bet him next time he runs. From the list of entries in the program, select the name of the horse and look for the “add to stable” button marked by a blue horseshoe. You can add the horse immediately, or write a short note indicating why you’re adding the horse to your stable.

Of course, race day isn’t the only time to add horses to your stable. If you’re reviewing the past few days of results and discover an interesting horse you initially overlooked, you’ll be glad to know Stable Alerts has a “Search to Add” function making it easy to add any horse at any time.

Congratulations! Now TwinSpires will remind you when your horse is entered to race. On race day, you’ll receive a notification when you log in. Furthermore, the blue horseshoe icon will appear in relevant places in the TwinSpires interface, steering you toward the right race. And of course, you can explore the “Stable Alerts (New)” page to see a complete list of all the horses you follow.

But wait, there’s more! You can also follow jockeys and trainers. If you’re enjoying success betting on horses conditioned by a red-hot trainer, it’s easy to see when and where they’re entered.

Using Stable Alerts as a handicapping tool

You might be wondering, which horses should I add to my stable? The answer varies depending on your approach to handicapping and betting. You might add impressive maiden winners who seem destined to enjoy success at the graded stakes level. Or you might look for horses who endured wide or traffic-filled trips, on the assumption they’ll receive a better trip (and perform better) next time.

One pitfall to avoid is betting on every horse in your stable when they run back for the first time. Perhaps you added a horse because she received a slightly troubled trip in a maiden special weight and you figure she’ll be tough to beat if she drops in class for a maiden claimer. If she instead turns up in another maiden special weight, you might want to skip betting on her since the circumstances aren’t what you envisioned. This is why attaching a note to each horse you add is helpful.

Also, avoid leaving horses in your stable too long. Once they’ve run back, consider whether their performance was good enough to warrant remaining in your stable. Clean house frequently, removing horses that fail to perform as expected.

Personally, this writer asks a simple question when choosing horses to add to Stable Alerts: “Does this horse have upside for improvement, or have we already seen its best?” You’re more likely to identify future winners if you look for horses with room to grow and improve, as opposed to horses who will need everything to go their way to win their next start. The odds might not be as enticing with obvious improving types, but you’ll probably cash more tickets.

When it comes to following hot trainers and jockeys, keep in mind it’s difficult to sustain win percentages higher than 25-30% over a long period of time. In 2022, trainer Timothy Hamm started the race meet at Presque Isle Downs on a fantastic note, going 20-for-56 (36%) during the first two months of the 5 1/2-month meet. But by the end of the meet, Hamm’s stable was winding down; he went 7-for-41 (17%) during the final month. Try to ride a hot streak before it cools down, or else add a trainer or jockey when you anticipate a hot streak will begin—perhaps at the start of a race meet.

Ultimately, deciding when to bet (or not) is the beauty of Stable Alerts. You can’t play an interesting horse, jockey, or trainer if you’re unaware of the opportunity, and Stable Alerts help ensure you never overlook those opportunities.