How to Handicap Horses in Horse Racing

David Kaestle
There are various horse races with available betting each day both across the United States and abroad
There are various horse races with available betting each day both across the United States and abroad / Lo Chun Kit/Getty Images
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With the whirlwind of cancellations across the sports world, The Duel now offers the latest odds, racing picks and tips, and results in horse racing!

Successfully handicapping horse racing can be extremely difficult and detailed. While it can take years and years to become great at it, there's a long list of things to consider and look at when trying to evaluate horses to bet on.

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Breeding/Pedigree
Determining where the horse came from can provide some great information on the potential of where it's going and what the horse could turn into. DNA of a horse matters, if it didn't, the top thoroughbreds in the world wouldn't be able to sell their offsprings for large amounts of money. Every Triple Crown race, you're likely to see horses that are the children of previously famous and successful horses from years ago (since the Triple Crown is a series for three-year-old horses). If a horse has a great pedigree and proven racing parents, it's already ahead of the game.

Form
A horse's recent form is probably the most easily accessible information, it's usually listed right in all the racing programs along with a slew of other information. Just like with any other team in sports, it's useful to know how that owner/trainer/jockey/horse has performed in recent competitions coming into each race.

Ability
This is a way to measure the horse's potential. In other words, what has a horse done when performing at its best, what has that horse done when performing at its worst, and how does that compare to the horses it's currently going up against?

Track Conditions
What are the conditions of the track? Is it grass, dirt or maybe mud? How does a horse perform in certain weather conditions or on various tracks. This is something that can affect certain horses more than others, so it's certainly something to be mindful off.

Trainer/Jockey
These are the people most closely associated with the horse, the ones that work with them on a daily basis. A top trainer and jockey can make a world of difference. Someone like Nick Zito and Bob Baffert can turn a horse from a contender into a champion, and they've done it many times. Knowing the names of the top jockeys and trainers is also a good place to start when narrowing down choices. A lot of jockeys and trainers will tend to or ride multiple horses in a day at a track as well.


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David Kaestle is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, David also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username davekaestle. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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