Finding Improving Horses When Horse Racing Handicapping

One of the best ways to find a value bet in horse racing handicapping is to find a horse that is improving, but the crowd has overlooked. The form cycle is often talked and written about and many people do look for improvement in the horse’s running lines. But there is something they often fail to look at when searching for a good bet.

I am talking about the comments about the horse that are usually found at the end of each racing line. Those comments often tell a story that you just won’t get from reading the pace figures, position, and quarter times. When you are looking for a good horseracing bet, what you want is a horse that is well meant, meaning the connections want to try to win with the horse, and also one that is trying to win.

Horses will try harder when they are fit and feeling good, in mid season form, if you will. The numbers don’t always show that. You may read that a horse was fourth by 10 lengths, but the comment may say, “Worked through traffic.” While a fourth place finish 10 lengths behind the leader isn’t impressive, a horse that worked its way through traffic was putting forth some effort.

What I look for in a horse’s comment lines is one who shows that it is steadily trying harder or putting forth a game effort when it races. If a horse is coming off a layoff and on the second or third race back, look at the comment lines. The first race is often just a breeze for conditioning, but the second line may show some interest by the horse in rider in being forwardly placed or putting forth some effort at the end of the race. If I see three comment lines with positive comments and then see a drop in class, no matter how the horse may have placed in its last race, I give it some careful consideration.

The whole point is to find value. When a horse’s speed figures look impressive or it narrowly missed the win in its last race, you won’t find good value in the win pools, but when a horse is working its way up to a win and showing some effort, it may still go off at good odds if the crowd doesn’t get onto it. That is when reading the comments and putting 2 and 2 together can pay off with a value bet when horseracing handicapping.