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Horse Racing Handicapping Tips
Yuri Nikitin

Horse racing handicapping should include analyzing the human
element, especially in claiming races when a horse makes his
first start for a new trainer. It's quite common among novices
simply glance at a horse’s speed indexes and final times when
making their selections, but wise handicappers compare the
records of the current and previous trainer. The several
questions may arise: when is the right time to wager on a horse
in a new barn, why does a horse suddenly improve or regress for
a new trainer, what rules should we understand about a newly
claimed horse?

We must first analyze the record of the former conditioner
before we judge whether a trainer can improve his recently
claimed horse, for instance, if high-percentage trainer claims
a horse from a trainer with a poor winning percentage, we can
assume the horse will improve in his new surroundings, and if a
low-percentage trainer claims a horse from the track’s leading
trainer, we can conclude the animal won’t improve - more than
likely, he will regress.

Quite often, we are able to eliminate from consideration a
betting underlay when the horse goes from a high- to a
low-percentage barn. Indexes of a high recent speed horse for a
leading trainer often has declining figures for a new outfit.
This may result in betting overlay when a horse with dismal
recent form for a low-percentage trainer hooks up with leading
trainer in wins.

On the one hand, a claimed horse returned at or below its last
claimed price used to be considered a negative but with higher
purses nationally, a claimed horse can earn a sizable pot even
if he is returned at the level he was purchased. More trainers
are willing to risk possibly losing their newly claimed horse
for the same or even a slightly lesser price because they would
still earn a profit from the purse winnings.

It's easy to understand why some trainers are willing to run
their newly claimed horses at or below their claimed price -
they place their horses where they are most likely to win, and
even if another trainer claims one of their horses, they will
show a return on their investment if the horse wins or hits the

Always consider jockey and equipment changes - a horse claimed
from a low percentage stable is likely to have a top rider for
his new barn, and a leading jockey on a newly claimed horse
would be a big improvement over his previous riders who might
have a low win percentage.

For a successful analysis of a newly claimed horse, we must
know as much about the new trainer as we do the horse.
Remember, handicapping the horse and trainer separates the
novice from the veteran.

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