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What Makes World Go Round

Posted by on 6/30/2014 11:26:55 PM

Most online sports betting site players just like action, whether it is in quality Grade 1 race or in the softer spots on the game known as the claimers.

But the meat and potatoes of the racing cards throughout the nation are made up of the salt of the earth on the equine set and that means the runners that are offered for sale on a daily basis.

I’ve never been a highly preferred Grade 1 kind of a guy. Sure, I like the big races and get pumped up during the Triple Crown run and one would have to be comatose not to get excited about the Breeders’ Cup races. But I knew from the very beginning to become proficient at this game, a player would need to be able to correctly analyze claiming races.

I was interested in horse racing at a very young age. My family was a gaming family. It was not unusual on any given weekend day for a poker game to be going in one room, a pinochle tourney in another, a ping pong match outside and a horse race to be on simultaneously.

My brother got me interested in the business aspect of the sport while I was a freshman in high school. He had a degree in economics from a college in Connecticut and the racing game fascinated him. As he gathered information through the hundreds and hundreds of Racing Forms cluttering his room, I also fell in love with the process.

My schoolwork didn’t suffer; in fact it went hand and hand with the analytical tools needed to handicap races.

The first horse I really remember as a champion was Kelso. I was 8 and he was winning the first of 5 consecutive honors asHorse of the Year. I recall being intrigued by the come-from-behind specialist, Carry Back, who won an Eclipse Award in 1961 as top 3-year-old colt.

In the mid 60s Kauai King, who won the Kentucky Derby in ’66, caught my attention. An exotic name, a royal demeanor, whatever, I was enticed.

By the time Canonero, Riva Ridge and Secretariat came along I was a full-fledged fanatic.

But even then I realized, champions were few and far between and to win money at the track, a player needed to understand the lower echelon horses.

When I first started handicapping, I would practice by making my selections on paper for tracks like Charles Town, Liberty Bell, and Penn National and then monitor the results. Claimers dominated the programs there then and still do.

Claimers account for about 75% of the racing cards throughout the country. Since they are not as sound as the better horses, they hold their form for a shorter period of time and are less formful as a whole.

Early speed, as with top-notch horses, is tantamount to being successful. In the olden days, handicapping books would advise to bet only claimers with recent activity, say horses that have run within a couple of weeks or so. But in this day and age, things have changes.

Horses, cheap ones at that, can win off the layoff and they do it all the time. In fact, cheap horses often fire their best-shot first time out after a layoff. They are not tired from the racing grind, they are mentally sharp and whatever was ailing them and forced them to the sidelines may have abated and they are generally in better physical condition when they return.

Bettors love horses that drop. It makes all the sense in the world at times but horses that drop seldom offer good value at the windows. Players assume since at one time they were capable of performing at a certain level, that when taking a big drop down the claiming ladder they will even be more effective. It works sometimes, but not always and the payoffs are usually on the small side.

I have found that one of the best and most lucrative situations occurs when a sharp trainer jumps his claimer up the ladder. It tells the bettor that the trainer thinks the horses is doing so well that he can stand the raise.

There are many ways to approach claimers and the game as a whole and we will explore the various means as the time goes on.

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