How to choose a horse in a race?

Horse racing is one of the finest spectacles on the planet and there are very few feelings of seeing your horse cross the line in first place. 

To the average racing fan, making sense of the various bits of form and ground can be muddling to say the least!

Horse racing is one of the most bet on sports in the USA but finding winners can be hard. This is especially true in Pennsylvania where sports betting is getting bigger and and bigger. If you look hard enough often real value can be found and betting on horses can result in some nice returns. This article will look at some of the things you need to look at the next time you bet on horse racing from Pennsylvania.

These tips will hopefully stop you from falling into traps that average punters often can fall into!

Finding the perfect horse 

Form 

One of the most important things to look at when trying to pick a horse is looking at the most recent form of a horse. The form of a horse will often dictate the odds of a horse before a race and should narrow your selections to a select few. 

In your racing guide beneath the description of each horse there should be an array of numbers which could read something like 12314111. Each number represents the finishing place that the horse has achieved in their last races. The numbers should be read from left to right, so in this instance we can see the horse has won their last three races – therefore heads into this race in good form. 

 

Course form / dirt or turf 

Horses like humans can be habitual creatures and will prefer some places over others. When it comes to horse racing it can sometimes make sense to check how a horse has performed at the venue previously. There have been numerous instances where a horse has performed particularly well at one venue in relation to another and this should all be clear from the racing guide. 

Horse races in America will be run over either dirt or turf. Some horses will have a career where they can efficiently operate on both. Take note of where the race is being run as a horse racing meeting can often contain races on both. Pay attention to whether your horse has good form on a particular surface or is trying the surface out for the first time.

Trainer and Jockeys 

Similarly to any other sport, there are jockey and trainer combinations that are better than others and it can sometimes pay to follow horses that represent powerful connections. 

Study the card and try to see what trainers or jockeys are appearing. Some of the most powerful trainers in the sport are the likes of Bob Baffert, Phil D’Amato, Wesley Ward and Chad Brown. Jockeys to follow are Flavian Prat, Joel Rosario, Jose Ortiz and John Velazquez. If some of these yards or jockeys are appearing at your meeting, there is a likelihood they will be representing top class horses.

Distance 

The final thing to look out for is distance. Horses can specialise over one distance or a few. It’s important to take note how a horse has performed over a particular distance. For example, if the race you want to bet on is raced over 6 furlongs, try to find horses that have winning form over the distance. There is a huge chance that there will be horses that would have won at 5 furlongs and also further. Any horses that have won at shorter distances will probably  have speed to burn, but might have questions over stamina. Whereas horses that have won over longer will have stamina on their side but might be lacking for speed.