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Handicapping - Pedigree - History - Dosage

History & Numbers in Handicapping

In order to determine advantages within the field in a Graded Stakes race, you must start from the outside and work your way in. Most will begin with the printed Past Performance Sheet, but without proper context, this method will surely leave extremely pertinent information out of the equation.


Understanding the race itself prior to even considering the entries must be the very first item to tackle. This important step could take as little as 5 minutes or last hours, depending on how deep you dive. At the very least, this step will give you the overview of clues as to the significance of the race for the future and it will enlighten you as to what type of individual horse has found success in that exact race.

Using the Kentucky Derby Prep, The Holy Bull Stakes, as an example for this exercise, the first step is to consult the past winners list at Equibase. You must understand and pinpoint the type, style and breeding of the winner that was conclusively built for that exact race on that exact track at that exact distance.

This information prior to handicapping the PP's is outrageously significant in any Graded Stakes race that you gamble on. A quick glance of the names will alert you to the dominant points that coincide with past winners within the parameters of the specific race. So much quick information is gained simply by reading down the names.

The example race, the Holy Bull, run at 8.5f at Gulfstream Park during the winter is not favorable to longshots. This specific race has obviously produced substantial players in not only the Triple Crown races but in future Graded races including the Breeders Cup.

Simply stated, it is obvious by the list of winners, the true 8.5f distance of this particular race is meaningless. The previous winners had one major thing in common - their ability to run 10f gave them SEVERE advantage in this race. They were all obviously bred to run 10f and this fact repeats straight down that list.

Therefore, the 2024 edition winner will most likely hold those same types of credentials and similarities.

1. Concrete and Readable Ability to run 10f and beyond.

2. Readable high-level speed and stamina and/or the presence of Tapit.

3. Killer dominant speed.

4. Longshots very disadvantaged.

5. Displayed success on a fast track in previous races.

6. High level - Triple Crown Quality.

7. Eventual Winner is a player going forward.

These "types" of winners are race specific. Remember, this information is after the fact. The handicapper knows what has eventually happened to these winners along the way. The types of future races they were capable of winning. The distances they eventually conquered. The types of tracks they eventually excelled on. No need to even consult charts if you don't want to.

The past winner's names alone will give you a sense of the quality necessary to win the specific race you are presently working on. Every past Winners Chart for any Graded Stakes race gives the handicapper a handle on the type of QUALITY and eventual distance capacity they were capable of in their future races. Every chart will hold its own answers based on the past winners.

To compare, let's look at the names of the Smarty Jones Past Winners:

Completely different "type" of horse, different eventual future outcomes, and different eventual distance capabilities found success in this specific race. Just by the names alone, one can easily get an overview of the exact type of horse that found advantage in that exact race. For the Smarty Jones, it is obvious that a player would NOT necessarily need to be adept at 10f. The presence of Tapit's stamina is not a factor. Even without diving deeper into each individual winner, one can easily see the "type" of horse that has found advantage in this race based on the eventual careers of these specific winners. It simply gives you an overview of the race you are now handicapping, and it only takes minutes.

You can end it there or you can spend a few more minutes and proceed to go in depth with each of the individual winner's race results charts to determine style of running advantages for that specific race. This will give you a handle on the "usual" track bias as well. The more information you procure outside of the PP's prior, the more ammunition you have before tackling the present field.


Once the Winners list is up on your screen, you can easily tap each race results chart and see quite quickly the winner's style of running. Where was he positioned on the field? In the same vein, you may also want to look at those who landed at the bottom of the race results chart. What style did they have? Who was the lead and how did they fair?

One by one, tap that chart to get a sense of the type of style that has prevailed in that specific race at that specific distance on that specific track over the last 10 to 15 races. You need to know how the winning dynamics of a race has unfolded in the past to understand the current players assets and how they fit in.

Take a quick glance at the list of names that they competed against in the race. Does any high quality or even the favorite show up low on those results? If so, look at the circumstances that affected that horse in the footnotes. Make sure that winner crossed that finish line based on his qualifications and not because of mishaps or even the weather. He had to have won based on his merit, breeding and/or style to have accurate data surrounding the race. This will help define the type of horse who was truly advantaged prior to the gates opening.

When looking at 10 or 15 past winners, you'll want to know the EXACT advantages based on style, distance capability, and quality and not because of outside factors. This overview gives the handicapper a better sense of the specific credentials that have PREDOMINATELY won in the past and how they relate to the new field.

Every race that you gamble on will produce different results based on the distance and the track bias. The previous two steps will take about 10 minutes, but it is essential in order to get the best overview of the race before anything else.


The final step before looking at the PP's for the race is to see if there are any consistencies with the breeding of the past winners. This will give you an overview with their scales and balances and how they relate to past races. It will assist you with the patterns of their build as it pertains to the track bias and the "true" distance requirements as well.

In essence, you are looking to see if a specific type of pedigree has been overwhelmingly advantaged in the past and how it relates to the horse you are now handicapping or considering a wager on. This could be as simple as SPEED dominant or STAMINA dominant as it relates to their scale. The chef index alone will tell you that.

If 14 out of 14 past winners had chef indexes at 3.00 and higher with loaded mare triads, then the advantage of their BUILD on that bias is overwhelmingly in favor for that specific race. This does not mean that an extra talented 1.00 horse could not win or hit the board, but it is telling you that the track bias itself is in opposition based on proven data on that track. If the past winners predominantly had a forward running style plays into this as well. This helps define the typical track bias of the specific race.

The likelihood that a stamina driven colt with a 1.00+ index who runs from the rear is slim to none to win the race based on that data. Especially if he is the only one on the field. This doesn't mean that he couldn't do it, it means that his disadvantage on that bias at that distance is at 100%. Basically, he simply is not built for this particular race on that track at that distance.

If 10 out 14 previous winners coincide with their numbers, then the percentage changes to 71% and continues along from there.

Take the 10 minutes to at least jot down the chef indexes of the previous winners to get a handle on the "type" of horse that has prevailed in the past. Note if there are any consistencies which will at least give you a handle on the track bias and any similarities the majority had before walking into that race.

The Holy Bull Past Winners:

Rocket Can 4.33 Tapit 10f+ ability

White Abarrio 3.80 Tapit 10f+ ability

Greatest Honour 3.00 Tapit 10f+ ability

Tiz the Law 4.33 Tapit 10f+ ability

Harvey Wallbanger 3.33 Speed = 14 Stamina = 18 10f+ ability

Audible 5.00 22-23-19 10f+ ability

Irish War Cry 3.00 10-16-19 10f+ ability

Mohaymen 3.00 Tapit 10f+ ability

Upstart 3.00 Speed = 12 Stamina = 16 10f+ ability

Cairo Prince 7.00 14-20-20 10f+ ability

Itsmyluckyday 3.00

Algorithms 2.71 Speed = 8 Stamina = 14 10f+ ability

Dialed In 3.62

Winslow Homer 6.00 Speed = 12 Stamina = 15 10f+ ability

Based on those scales above, speed demons and sprinters are not winning the 8.5f Holy Bull Stakes. Killer speed with high-end endurance has won on that bias in the winter over and over again. The probability that the same type will prevail in 2024 is sitting at 93%. That is the edge for the handicapper. You will only get that edge IF YOU TAKE THE TIME to research first, handicap after.

The last 14 editions of the Holy Bull produced only one colt with a chef index under 3.00. Knowing that information, if you were to place a 100.00 win ticket on a colt that happens to have an index under 3.00, you are now stepping into that gamble with full knowledge of your risk going against the known dominant build on that track bias. You are gambling on a horse that goes against the grain. Being informed only aids in your knowledge of your risk. Most do not take this precaution with their money.

You now know that the past has produced only a 7.14% chance of success with a colt under 3.00. You can see that 92.8% of the time the winner has been a 3.00 and over colt. This follows the bias of the track.

You are fully informed that it would take a horse with the caliber of Algorithms to succeed. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't try, but it does mean that you are the one risking your money and it is best to walk into that gamble with every aspect covered when it comes to your money.

The additional 10 or 20 minutes you spend gathering "evidence" on the race parameters itself gives us much more ammunition to make informative decisions than those who don't take the time to understand the race first and then the entries second.

This also works wonders as you move forward in the season. Based on the history of the race, if by chance a colt sporting a chef index under 3.00 wins the Holy Bull, you know he had a 7% chance of beating history. That success would point to a major player for the future. This works with every single Graded Stakes race that you work on. Those who win against the grain are usually complete standouts moving forward.

Those who do not take the time to study the past have a disadvantage with their gambling dollars. Those who study outside of the PP's first are much more informed spending their hard-earned dollars.

Most every time, specific patterns and similarities will emerge with a Male Graded Stakes race on dirt. This is because the majority of winners are usually built for the track bias and the necessary "true" distance capability needed to prevail in that specific race.

This could lean simply with the caliber and eventual distance quality of the past winner's names. It could be a certain running style because of the bias. Maybe it's the breeding - be it stamina dominant or speed dominant through their chefs, etc. Something is going to stand out.

Look at it this way. If you analyze another race and every winner was in the 2.00 chef index range for the last 15 editions, you should stop and take notice. Imagine only one or two 2.00+ contenders are present on your PP sheet for the upcoming race. Wouldn't it make sense to at least take a shot with him, regardless of odds?

That boils down to a 90% to 100% chance that the horse's breeding is perfectly aligned with the track bias over his peers based on history. It also shows that all of the speed contenders are highly disadvantaged on that track at that distance.


To emphasize, there is no science to picking winners or players in a horse race. These three steps will aid in your understanding of the specific race and the parameters which produced success in the past. You must know the dynamics of the race itself to understand if there are any obstacles that "your horse" has in conjunction with advantages or disadvantages.

Once you have a grasp on the relative points of success from the past, you can then attach these findings to your top picks. It gives you a point of reference with percentages, chances, and outcomes with your wager and if you feel the chance is worth it.

Once you establish these advantages, you now have an informed background on the race itself. Only then should you move onto the PP's, call lines, beyers and timeforms of the given field.

The goal prior is to understand the race itself.

The track bias, style of running and scale (breeding) will give you the overview of what worked in the past.

You can choose to take the opposite direction with your gamble and that very well may be the outcome, but at least you have an informed perspective on your risk with your money.


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