How To Bet Horses Using Past Performance Workouts

Many horses win races, not because they possess superior ability than their competition, but because they are simply in better shape and better prepared to win on a particular day. A multitude of factors go into conditioning a horse, but perhaps the single most revealing sign is a horse’s recent workouts in the weeks leading up to a race. A sharp horse will often signal his readiness with fast workouts, making it a crucial component of a horse player’s handicapping.

Horse Workouts Give Time, Location and Distance

Understanding how to read workouts in the program is relatively simple. The numbers generally appear in bold font in the very bottom section of a horse’s past performance box along with the date, surface, distance and location of the work. So, Apr15 SA 5f fst: 1:00 4/36 would indicate that the horse in question worked on April 15 at the five furlong (five eighths of a mile) distance over a fast Santa Anita dirt surface in a time of one minute flat. Of 36 horses that worked the identical distance that day, this workout was the fourth fastest. Such a work would be considered a fairly strong effort and could be a positive sign for the horse depending on the level of competition. As a general rule of thumb, each furlong in a work should be completed in about 12 seconds. Anything quicker is above average.

Fast workouts mean a horse is ready for a big race

When eventual Triple Crown winner American Pharoah worked an effortless 58-flat April 26, 2015 – about a week before his Kentucky Derby win, everyone witnessing the performance from the Churchill Downs backside realized the colt had done something special and was sitting on a big race. The work appeared as Apr26 CD 5fst: 58 B 1/33. The speed of the work and the “B” signifying the superstar was “breezing” or exerting minimal effort left little doubt that American Pharoah was in peak condition.

Workouts are a clue to use to bet races

A series of fast drills doesn’t always lead the handicapper to a winning selection, but when coupled with other factors, the way a horse works in the morning is generally a good indicator of how the animal will perform in the afternoon.


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