A strategy for smart thoroughbred handicapping by evaluating the WHOLE race …

  • Race strength measures the likelihood of a longshot win. An average race will score 100. Races in the 80s and 90s favor chalky winners. Races above 110 favor longshots. Significant late scratches will make the races weaker.
  • Basically, players will go broke very quickly betting long shots in races weaker than 100. The stronger the race, the more likely the favorite will fail.


RACE 1: Strength 98

# 7 H’rayforcaberneigh 8/5 Much the best. Despite the corny name. Ya can’t blame the horse for that.  Looks like we’re getting 2/1. No, it’s CBY, home of dropping odds.

RACE 2: Strength 81


#4 Ice Pop 6/5 Has at least a 40% chance. Don’t believe the #6 deserves the chalky price.

RACE 3: Strength 85

With all the scratches and the move off the turf, the whole card is getting chalkier.

#2 Company Store 8/5. Faces weakest challengers. Tonight’s best bet. Might wire ‘em, or might weaken in the stretch. Almost always hits the board.

RACE 4: Strength 98

# 8 Little No Way 2/1. Look past the last two flops, which were on nasty wet surfaces. This old gelding has won or just missed at Delmar and Santa Anita. Right now is 5/1 on the board.

The crowd, and Brisnet, prefer the #5 and #6. Of the two, #5 Yo Y Me seems best, and is very quick outta the gate. Still, 8/5 seems skinny he’s not clearly the best horse.

10% takeout $1 Pick-6 starts here. Ticket with (chances of winning the leg in parentheses.)

RACE FOUR: 8-5 (55%)

RACE FIVE: 2-5 (65%)

RACE SIX: 2-6-9 (55%)

RACE SEVEN: 4-9 (58%)

RACE EIGHT: 7-12 (49%)

RACE NINE: 4-6-8 (68%)

$144 (4% chance)

RACE 5: Strength 94

OFF THE TURF… Move to the dirt track changes the whole deal. Top pick #8 Turn the Switch, 2/1 seems exactly right.

#5 Funandfunny has a good chance too, and is 7/1 but has plenty of competition. For instance, #2 Stone Secret, a good bet at 7/2 or better.

#1 Zorich is the Brisnet and crown pick. 6/5 seems ridiculous. By speed figure he’s the third-fastest horse. He has no class edge. His lifetime record is 1-for-25, with 8 places. The crowd seems to be betting the switch to super-trainer Diodoro. We think this horse is more like 7/1.

10% takeout 50-cent Pick-5 starts here. Ticket with (chances of winning the leg in parentheses.)

RACE FIVE: 2,5 (65%)

RACE SIX: 2-6-9 (55%)

RACE SEVEN: 4-9 (58%)

RACE EIGHT: 7-12 (49%)

RACE NINE: 4-6-8 (68%)

$36 ticket. (4% chance) 

RACE 6: Strength 116

Longshot race. Tonight’s toughest race. Whoever’s the favorite, he’s very likely to lose. Winner at 7/1 or better would be no surprise. Look for a price of 7/1 or so on: 2-6-9-8-10-

This is not the kind of race where you’d take a short price. #4 Sky Jumper is a no thanks at 3/1. Same for the second choice, #3 Wild Behavior at 7/2.

Brisnet ranks #9 Ship it Red as their #2 horse, and the morning line is 4/1. We think he’s 9/1. The crowd says 9/1. Somebody’s wrong somewhere.

We’re down on the #2 at 9/1.

RACE 7: Strength 85

OFF THE TURF. Longshot race on turf, but now has chalky prospects. #4 Shinny looks like a 7/5 shot and will probably run like one. Next best is #9 My Boy Lollipop, but I would insist on at least 4/1.

The crowd set #3 I’m an Eight as a 9/1 shot. Our guess is 40/1. So we’ll see. If he really is 40/1, he’ll have no part in the race. Otherwise, the field seems to be priced right.

RACE 8: Strength 88

#7 Greater Cairo 2/1. Morning line is 5/2, no way that will hold. Brisnet rating implies overwhelming favorite, and the crowd usually bets these down to infinity. Would love to get 2/1, but 8/5 or worse is likely.

OMG, Greater Cairo opened at 1/5.

2nd best horse: #12.Jimmy’s Marco, is 24/1 on the board, but 5/1 in our hearts. Brisnet also lists him as second choice, the morning line is 8/1. Brisnet’s ranking implies about a 12/1 shot. So yeah, he’s an overlay, but what can you do with him?

How about the late double: 7-12 with 4-6-8 for a $6 tix?

Jimmy’s down to 9/1 now as the crowd comes to their sense. Cairo flips back to 4/5.

RACE 9: Strength 89

Started as a longshot race, but scratched down to a Chalker.

#4, Two the Punch, won’t have it easy. But he IS the best closer and 7/5 looks fair. 
Crowd loves Mac/Canchari, so expect #6, Discreet Tiger, to dominate the tote. But maybe not the race.
Look for a price of 5/1 or better: 6-8. But long shots don’t typically win races like this.

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