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Tips And Strategies To Become A Successful Professional Horse Handicapper

For those who aspire to become successful a professional horse handicapper, it's a journey that demands dedication and a commitment to continuous learning.

Author:Henrik SchmidtSep 20, 2023
Horse handicapping is both an art and a science, requiring a keen eye, patience, and a deep understanding of the racing world.
For those who aspire to become successful a professional horse handicapper, it's a journey that demands dedication and a commitment to continuous learning.

Training And Education For A Professional Horse Handicapper

Professional horse handicappers require a unique blend of knowledge, analytical skills, and a deep understanding of horse racing dynamics.
To gain expertise, individuals should develop a passion for horse racing, watch races regularly, attend meetings, and immerse themselves in the sport's culture. Self-study involves understanding handicapping theory and strategies, such as odds, speed figures, and past performances.
For structured learning, handicapping seminars and workshops are available, conducted by industry experts and seasoned handicappers. Online courses and programs offer a more formalized approach, covering advanced topics and providing a structured curriculum.
Practical experience, such as visiting horse racing tracks, networking within the horse racing community, and participating in handicapping contests, can accelerate growth as a handicapper.
Hands-on practice is essential, as it allows individuals to analyze past race data, make predictions, and keep meticulous records of their selections and outcomes.
Participation in handicapping contests, held at racetracks and online, can provide a competitive edge, as they challenge handicappers to apply their skills in a real-world setting. Continuous learning is crucial, as the world of horse racing is dynamic, with evolving trends, technologies, and strategies.

How Do Horse Racing Handicappers Make Odds?

Handicappers evaluate prior races and make decisions based on advanced data analytics and algorithms. To determine chances for each individual, they consider characteristics such as the horse's class, speed ratings, track conditions, race distance, and lineage.
Professional handicappers may identify patterns that help them anticipate race outcomes by monitoring races and morning workouts, evaluating statistics, and applying their understanding of the horses and the course they're racing on.

Tools And Resources For Professional Horse Handicappers

Professional horse handicappers rely on a variety of tools and resources to make informed predictions and gain an edge in the competitive world of horse racing. Here are some of the essential tools and resources they use:
  • Racing Forms:Racing forms are comprehensive publications that provide detailed information about upcoming races, including past performances of horses and jockeys, race conditions, and statistics. Handicappers often use Daily Racing Forms (DRFs) and other similar publications to gather data.
  • Data Analysis Software:Advanced data analysis software and computer programs are crucial for processing vast amounts of racing data efficiently. These tools help handicappers identify patterns and trends that are not easily discernible by manual analysis.
  • Past Race Data:Historical race data is a valuable resource. Handicappers study the past performances of horses, jockeys, and trainers to assess their capabilities and form.
  • Speed Figures:Speed figures are numerical ratings that indicate how fast a horse ran in previous races. Handicappers use these figures to gauge a horse's speed and compare it to the competition.
  • Track Bias Information:Knowledge of track biases is essential. Handicappers analyze data to determine if a particular track favors horses with certain running styles or positions.
  • Video Replays:Watching video replays of past races allows handicappers to assess a horse's performancevisually. This can provide insights into a horse's racing style and tendencies.
  • Handicapping Books and Publications:There is a wealth of literature on horse handicapping. Handicappers often refer to books, articles, and publications written by experts in the field to expand their knowledge.
  • Expert Insights:Handicappers follow industry experts and analysts who provide insights and predictions about upcoming races. This information can help validate or challenge their own analyses.
  • Simulcasting and Live Feeds:Many handicappers watch live races via simulcasting at off-track betting locations or online streaming platforms. Live feeds provide real-time information and visuals.
  • Betting Exchanges and Online Platforms:Handicappers use online betting platforms and exchanges to place their wagers. These platforms offer a range of betting options and access to odds from various sources.
  • Historical Track Data:Detailed historical track data, including weather conditions, track surface conditions, and race results, is essential for assessing how external factors may affect race outcomes.
  • Handicapping Seminars and Workshops:Attending handicapping seminars and workshops conducted by industry experts can enhance a handicapper's skills and knowledge.
  • Peer Networking:Handicappers often network with fellow enthusiasts and professionals. Sharing insights and discussing race analysis with peers can lead to valuable perspectives.
  • Mobile Apps:Many handicappers use mobile apps that provide real-time race information, odds, and results, allowing them to stay updated on the go.
These tools and resources, combined with the handicapper's expertise and analytical skills, enable professionals to make well-informed predictions and potentially gain an advantage in the complex world of horse racing.

Strategies To Became A Professional Horse Handicapper

Whether you're a newcomer or looking to enhance your skills, here are some valuable tips to set you on the path to success in the world of horse handicapping:

Master The Basics

Begin by building a solid foundation of knowledge about horse racing. Study the terminology, the different types of races, and the key factors that influence race outcomes.
Familiarize yourself with the racetracks, their surfaces, and the various racing classes. The more you know, the better equipped you'll be to make informed decisions.

Understand Handicapping Systems

Handicapping systems are the core tools of a professional handicapper. Explore different handicapping methods, such as speed figures, pace analysis, and class ratings.
Gain a deep understanding of how these systems work and their strengths and weaknesses. Experiment with different systems to see which one aligns best with your analytical style.

Keep Detailed Records

Successful handicappers meticulously record their bets, selections, and outcomes. Maintaining a detailed log of your wagers and the reasoning behind them allows you to review your performance, identify trends, and make adjustments. It's a crucial step toward refining your strategies and improving your profitability.

Stay Informed

Stay up-to-date with the latest news and developments in the horse racing world. Follow racing publications, websites, and social media channels to gain insights into the form, health, and performance of horses, jockeys, and trainers.
Be aware of track conditions, weather forecasts, and any changes that might affect race outcomes.

Develop Your Own System

While learning from established handicapping systems is valuable, developing your unique approach can set you apart.
Over time, you may find that certain factors or angles consistently lead to successful selections. Trust your instincts and refine your system based on your observations and experiences.

Bankroll Management

Effective bankroll management is vital for long-term success. Set a budget for your wagering activities and stick to it.
Avoid the temptation to chase losses or increase bet sizes impulsively. Professional handicappers prioritize preserving their bankroll to ensure they can continue betting strategically.

Be Selective

Not every race is worth betting on. Professional handicappers are discerning and selective about their wagers. Focus on races where you have a strong edge or where you see a clear opportunity for value. Quality over quantity is a mantra that many successful handicappers live by.

Embrace Technology

Utilize technology to your advantage. There are numerous horse racing software and data analysis tools available that can help you streamline your handicapping process. These tools can provide valuable insights and save you time in your research.

Network And Learn From Others

Connect with fellow handicappers, whether online or at the racetrack. Sharing insights, strategies, and experiences with others in the racing community can be incredibly valuable. You can learn from their successes and setbacks, expanding your knowledge base.

Practice Patience And Discipline

Professional handicappers understand that success doesn't come overnight. It takes time to develop your skills and achieve consistent results. Stay patient, disciplined, and committed to your craft. Avoid impulsive bets and stick to your strategies.
Horses with riders are running in grassy field.
Horses with riders are running in grassy field.

How Do I Become A Good Horse Handicapper?

Many races need hours of analysis to determine the finest predictions imaginable, and the knowledge and network necessary to become a successful handicapper take years to acquire. You may begin honing your handicapping abilities by doing any of the following:
  • Developing relationships with horsemen and their riders
  • Keeping an eye on the horses while they train
  • Monitoring the achievements of rivals in the past
  • Acquiring a thorough knowledge of statistics and how they might be used in sports betting
  • Learning how a horse's performance may be affected by several aspects
  • Improving one's betting skills by studying the methods used by the best
  • Practice! It might take a lot of trial and error to develop your own personal handicapping tactics.

Best Horse Handicappers

John Lies

John Lies is a terrific handicapping tipster with over 25 years of expertise and one of the most popular figures at Del Mar.
He's quite active and often provides recommendations, and he covers a broad range of races. He also has a remarkable track record and some very exceptional analytical abilities, which enable him to provide straightforward and practical advice.

Frank Scatoni

Frank Scatoni of Optix is another excellent handicapper. Aside from his amazing knowledge and consistent choices, he has an excellent method of giving his ideas - the horses are given a grade (A, B, C, etc...) along with a full explanation of the cause and even a pithy conclusion to sum it all up.

Racing Dudes

Racing Dudes are an increasingly popular group of horse handicap tipsters, offering a plethora of both free and paid suggestions on a broad range of courses and events.
Their decisions and rationale are correct, as shown by their track records, which are plain and diversified. They also provide a lot of guidance on American songs, which is a unique feature that you'll appreciate if you're from the US.


Timeform boasts some of the top handicapper tipsters in the game, with both free and paid alternatives. While the free ones are good, the premium ones truly stand out.
Not only do you receive daily advice on a variety of racetracks (both with and without handicaps), but they're also wonderfully complimented with stakes, the best odds, and a good explanation of why the bets were advised - allowing you to learn how to do it yourself as well.

At The Races

Any of the three primary handicap tipsters at At The Races are excellent sources of free choices. Hugh Taylor and Gary O'Brien are the most popular tipsters on the platform for British and Irish events, while Paul Quigley specializes on American races.
They're fixtures in the tipping world, and they have both experience and skill on their side for handicapped races.

Betting Horse Racing Tips For Handicappers

Managing The Bankroll

Expert handicappers don't want to lose all their money on a single wager, so they require a foolproof system for spreading their bets over many races. Betting on favorites or longshots, even the greatest handicappers only win around 40% to 60% of the time.
Sometimes you'll go on a losing streak that's rather lengthy, and that's when good bankroll management will come in handy. It will allow you to win in the long run even if you lose many races in a row.
You shouldn't risk more than 1-5% of your whole bankroll on any one race. It's better to put more money on easy bets than on difficult ones, as the latter are riskier.

Invest Your Time

A thorough understanding of horses and their relationships is what separates a beginner bettor from a professional handicapper. You may get lucky by relying on your eyes alone, but that's not a winning approach.
Like any other sport, horse racing requires extensive research on a variety of topics, including tracks, horses, jockeys, trainers, lineage, owners, and more.
While races themselves may only last a few minutes, the preparation for major events should start far earlier. Tracking the horses as they run their campaigns will provide you more information than any other handicapper.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Traits Of A Successful Professional Horse Handicapper?

Successful professional horse handicappers often possess traits such as patience, attention to detail, a deep understanding of horse racing, and the ability to manage risk effectively. These qualities enable them to make accurate predictions and achieve consistent results.

How Do Professional Horse Handicappers Analyze Jockey-Horse Partnerships?

Professional horse handicappers analyze jockey-horse partnerships by considering past performance records of specific jockeys with particular horses. They assess factors like chemistry between the jockey and horse, past race outcomes, and the jockey's riding style to make informed predictions.

What Role Does Data Analysis Play In Professional Horse Handicapping?

Data analysis is pivotal in professional horse handicapping. Handicappers use historical race data, track conditions, and performance statistics to identify trends and patterns. This analysis helps them make calculated predictions about upcoming races.

Can You Provide Examples Of Famous Professional Horse Handicappers?

Certainly, some famous professional horse handicappers include Andrew Beyer, who developed the Beyer Speed Figures, and Steve Davidowitz, renowned for his expertise in analyzing pace scenarios. These experts have made significant contributions to the field of horse handicapping.

Are There Specialized Training Programs For Aspiring Professional Horse Handicappers?

While there are no formal degrees in horse handicapping, aspiring professionals can benefit from specialized training programs and workshops offered by racing institutions and experienced handicappers. These programs provide valuable insights and practical skills for those looking to pursue a career in this field.

Final Words

Becoming a successful professional horse handicapper requires a blend of knowledge, dedication, and adaptability. It's a journey of continuous learning and refinement of skills.
By mastering the basics, developing your own system, and staying informed, you can enhance your ability to make informed selections and enjoy success in the thrilling world of horse handicapping.
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Henrik Schmidt

Henrik Schmidt

Henrik Schmidt is a dedicated writer focusing on sports, betting, and various entertainment aspects related to the sporting world. With a passion for exploring the intersections of sports and entertainment, Henrik brings a unique perspective to his articles. His expertise in these areas ensures that readers receive informative and engaging content, making him a valuable contributor to the sporting community.
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