If you are looking for a handicap method that will evaluate runners and put you on horses that will make money in the long term, you need to decide which factors to use. The problem is that all horse racing is not created equal. We know that the pace is different depending on the surface the race is on, but what combination of pace and speed or class do we use to raise a horse higher?
Start with the notion of a hierarchy as a way to determine the real value that a horse should return. To arrive at that value, you need to know to what extent a horse outshines the other horses. It is confusing at times because although one horse may match the pace scenario better than another, it may lack class.
When comparing yourself, ask yourself, “What is more important, class or speed or pace?” That’s the problem. The horse that stands head and shoulders above the others in all categories will go to post at ridiculously low odds and will not be much of a bet. It’s hard to get excited about a runner at 1-5 odds. We all look for the horse that seems to be undervalued by the crowd, but let’s face it, they do a pretty good job of pricing horses.
I have found that speed and pace are almost synonymous on the speed that favors dirt roads in North America. The horse that can establish and lead early will often dominate and contain any late threats. We’ve seen it many times, the horse that the crowd feels is the cheap speed in the race goes to the front and never looks back. Another likely scenario is a cheap speedster who manages to rank behind two classier opponents and pass them in the stretch once they have worn each other out.
Therefore, before I judge a class horse, I want to know that it has actually won over the distance and the course. It may be stylish, but if it is not built to win over the distance, a fast horse with pace can still win even if it looks bad on paper because it has not run against the same caliber of horses that the class horse has faced. . Don’t make the mistake of overvaluing a horse because it won a lot more money. That’s impressive, but you have to answer the question of where and when it won the money.
If the races it won were on a different surface or if it’s a route and today’s race is a sprint, you may find better value in a more everyday runner that matches the track model.