Front wraps are one of the most misunderstood and little used handicapping factors and yet, they can help you to spot winners like few other equipment changes can. First of all, lets talk about what front wraps are. Wraps are bandages that help support the tendons in a horses foreleg. Bowed tendons or sore legs are one of the biggest problems in horse racing.
But front wraps are also used for other purposes. Trainers use wraps to disguise a horse that is fit and ready! There is a lot of trickery involved in horseracing because it is a tough game. Let’s say you are a trainer who has worked hard and put a lot of time and money into getting horse ready to win. You have found the perfect spot for your runner. But you also realize that other trainers have been watching your horse and may want to claim it now that it is looking good. How do you keep them off your horse? Convince them the horse is lame, of course.
Another good reason to run a horse with front wraps is to keep some of the bettors off the horse. There are some handicappers who won’t bet a horse that is sporting front wraps. Trainers know that if they run a horse with wraps it will warn off some bettors and they can make more at the windows. But all this trickery comes at a price because it may affect the horse’s performance. The added weight, though not much, may make a tick or two of difference and that can mean the difference between losing or winning. A smart trainer works the horse with wraps to see how they will affect it.
And then there is the problem of a wet track and how wraps are affected by that. Wraps absorb moisture and may become heavier adding even more weight to the horse’s legs. On the other hand, some trainers also wrap plastic wrap around the front wraps to keep them dry. One of the best way to use wraps is by knowing the trainer’s moves and how often his or her horse’s win with wraps. Also, it would pay to know if this particular horse ever raced with wraps before. These are the kinds of things that insiders use to beat you at the windows.
Without that knowledge you are blindly handicapping against the shrewdest people in horse racing, the trainers and owners. There are ways to look at the tote board and works and other changes to see if the insiders are betting the horse, and while you may not know all about the horse’s history, watching these moves will help you to know if the insiders think the horse is going to win. That is the most important factor. It may indicate that some other equipment change like a bit, shoes, or blinkers is going to make the difference.
To understand that you must think like an insider using a good method like True Handicapping