Horse Racing Tips: Betting With Bad Weather And 'Off Tracks'

Horse racing betting tips, including bad weather and off tracks.
Horse racing betting tips, including bad weather and off tracks. / Darron Cummings / Associated Press

Betting on horse racing becomes a tougher challenge when the weather turns bad and races are run on "Off Tracks". Wet, sloppy or muddy tracks and surfaces add another variable to the race which is often unfavorable.

Some of the biggest races of the year, including the Kentucky Derby, are run when rain hits and the dirt surface comes up sloppy and is sealed. But that doesn't slow down bettors, who can now bet on horse racing through FanDuel Sportsbook. And with FanDuel Racing offering a betting experience right on the app, more fans will watch and wager on horse racing even if the weather isn't as favorable.

Betting on an 'Off Track'

Top Race Reports lead handicapper Rob Henie, who owns and races horses, provides the most-read racing reports with his East Coast (ECHR) and West Coast Handicapping Reports (WCHR). He strongly advises horseplayers to avoid (or reduce) betting when the tracks come up sloppy and muddy.

The reasons are many, starting with the footing. Horses are prone to ‘slide’ and when they slide a bit they try to readjust, which often throws off their timing. Hoof size is also important, as a smaller, more conclave hoof is more conducive to getting through the slop in an easier fashion. Some horses are also more affected than others with regard to water and mud flying around, while certain jockeys struggle more than others with their goggles, as some simply have a more difficult time maneuvering the multiple goggles they go through during a race in the slop.

Throw in the fact that some portions of the track tend to puddle more than others, and that affects certain running lanes. Thus, you should ask yourself when betting and once the handicapping process is done, how will these sloppy track variables affect the performance of not only my own contenders but all runners in the field, and will a strong-looking runner regress? Also, will a horse in poor form with seemingly little shot today suddenly flourish over a wet surface, perhaps moving up double-digit lengths?

For all of these reasons and more, Top Race Reports and other avid horsemen and handicappers often suggest avoiding a sloppy or muddy track when betting on horse races.

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