If you have handicapped horse racing and tried to win money, you probably know how difficult it can be. But have you ever considered the fact that all horse racing is not created equal? There are horse races that are easier to handicap and are also very profitable.

Smart punters keep track of their progress and efforts, so they can tell what they are good at and where their strengths are, so they can focus their efforts and maximize their time to the best advantage. Some people specialize in maidens, while others prefer to handicap grass races.

The first thing I recommend you do is to keep track of what you are betting on and how well you are doing it. Keep notes and refer to them. Set aside some time each week or month to review your bets and see where your handicap strengths are.

I have found that intermediate level requirements are the best races for me. I also prefer those that drive on dirt roads or all-weather tracks. The reason why I have found these races particularly profitable is that I can get good odds on horses that are improving and it is also easier to compare the horses.

Claimed races are WYSIWYG races, meaning “what you see is what you get.” Very few good trainers put a horse that can compete in a $25,000 claiming race for a $25,000 purse into a race for a lower purse. It simply does not make economic sense. They put their horse where it can be competitive and make the most money. Training horses is a business after all, and it makes good business sense.

So when I handicap a race at an intermediate level and compare the horses, it is relatively easy to see which horse is capable of competing at that level and which horses are moving up or down the class.

Another benefit of handicapping these races is that I can see a good trainer claim a horse and follow the moves he or she makes to improve the horse and win. Equipment changes help, but there are other things they do, such as changes in diet and exercise, that will improve a horse. Some trainers like to claim a horse and drop it in the class if they are reasonably confident that their horse can win the race. The runner may be claimed from the race for a lower price than they paid for it, but the check they receive, plus the purse and any bets they win, outweighs the loss in claiming the prize.

All these traits and the horse’s abilities are more transparent when it comes to claiming races. Most claimants have been in business for a while and have shown what they can do, hence the term WYSIWYG. When I see a horse that has demonstrated the ability to win at the $10,000 level for a fair trainer who has been claimed and is now in the barn of a much better trainer, I know the horse is likely to improve and win at a higher level . These games are often not appreciated by the public and good odds can be found on them.

The reason I stick with mid-level requirements is that experience has shown that the runners in the cheaper races are just too inconsistent and sometimes have big problems. Once in a while they manage a good performance, but their records are so spotty that it’s impossible to tell when that might be.

Try sticking to mid-level competitions for some programs and see how you do. Use a sensible system and have realistic expectations, and you may be pleasantly surprised by your own performance as a handicapper.

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