Always be prepared!
A day at the races is a fun day out in all circumstances. But you can enjoy it much more – and be more successful with your betting – if you do a little bit of homework beforehand.
STUDY THE RACE CARD:
The most important thing anyone can do before heading to the races is read the race card. If it looks daunting, TwinSpires has a good guide here. Once you’ve learned, study the form of each horse in each race, what class of races they have been running in, which horses are stepping up or down in class, and if there are any notable changes in gear, jockey, trainer, or race distance. These are all helpful.
LOOK AT WEATHER AND TRACK CONDITIONS:
Few things have more impact on a horse’s performance than this. Some horses perform much better if the track is dry and firm; others are happier on wet tracks. This applies to both turf and dirt. Check the weather forecast, find out what the conditions are, and analyze which horses prefer wet or dry conditions.
ANALYZE POST POSITIONS:
These can be very important. Some horses do better if they get an outside gate, meaning they will have more chance to avoid traffic by being stuck on the fence. However, an outside gate could mean a horse races wide and covers more ground than those on the fence. Others may enjoy an inside gate – if they have enough gate speed to get near the lead. Also consider the track history of horses from each gate at the distance of the race.
STUDY TRACK PERFORMANCE HISTORY:
While it doesn’t always apply, some horses just perform better – or worse – on certain tracks. Maybe they like or dislike the peculiarities of that venue’s surfaces, the shape of the course, the air, or whatever. A horse’s historical record at an individual track is usually available, and is worth studying.
WATCH RACE VIDEOS:
The internet age has given punters much greater access to information, and one very helpful thing is race videos. Footage of most races is widely available online, and if you have time it’s a good idea to watch some of the horses due to contest the day’s events.