If you are trying to pick the winner in a horse race you have to look at the most important factors and early speed is one of them. It doesn’t matter if the race is long or short. Early speed is important even on grass where many horses win from the pace. Some believe that because a route race is a mile or longer, it gives other horses time to close from behind, and so the early sprinters tire and are passed at the finish line.
It is faulty logic in many cases. First of all, the horse that gets to the front or near the front of the pack can set its own pace. Even when there are several horses in front and they seem to be fighting for the lead, if they have experienced and skilled jockeys, they may just run ahead and walk, saving some “juice” for the stretch.
Another advantage of being in front or near the front is that there are fewer horses causing traffic problems. When a horse has to close at the back of the pack, it often has to go wide on the turn, giving up valuable ground to get past slower runners or those who are fading.
How do you know which horse has early speed? There are several ways to decide which horses should go to the front of the pack. But before we discuss them, let’s be clear about one thing. When we say that early speed wins races, we don’t mean that it has to be the horse that is ahead of all the others. It may be an early pace race running within a length or two of the horse that has taken the lead. In many races the winner can be found among the three best horses on the quarter pole.
Start by using whatever designation your program uses to indicate early speed. An E means a horse that is going all the way to the front, and many times these runners need to be in front, no matter how much it may cost them in the late stages of the race. Pace numbers are often given in the last races the horse ran. Finding the horse with the fastest pace will tell you which horse will go for the lead. Try to keep your pick for victory within the top three.
Then there are speed points. Speed points are given for the position of the horse in previous races. The higher the speed score, the more likely the horse will be at the front of the pack or just outside the leader. A good angle is to find a horse that had an extended stay and returned to the races only to fade in the stretch. If it has had two or more races and faded but shows the early speed, it may have been raced back into condition and is ready to win or place.