Beginner's Corner

Picking winners

The art of determining the outcome of a horse race is called handicapping. Handicapping involves evaluation of several factors including a horses trainer, jockey, breeding, and most importantly, the horses past performances in previous races. Horseplayers must also consider a variety of other information including the class and conditions of the race, the distance, surface, post positions, etc.

Questions every horseplayer should ask themselves . . .

Q: Where did the horse finish in its most last race?
A: Check the horses most recent race(s) to determine if the horse is in good form and capable of its peak performance.

Q: Does the horse fit in todays race?
A: Check the class levels the horse has been competing at, and judge whether todays race is at a higher class, a lower class, or at the same level as its recent race(s).

Q: Is the horse suited to todays race conditions?
A: Check the distance and surface of todays race, and judge if a horse is well suited to the particular race.

Q: How well has the horse raced in its career?
A: Check the overall record of the horse, (plus its jockey and trainer). Horses, jockeys, and trainers records usually show four numbers, races-wins-seconds-thirds. Therefore, a horse whose record is 10-4-2-3 has raced 10 times with four wins, two seconds, and three thirds. A horses record can also list its past performances at a specific track, distance, or surface.

Q: Which horse is the fastest?
A: Look for the horses with the highest speed figures in their recent races. A speed figure is generally arrived at by taking a horses raw time and adjusting it based on the condition of the race. Speed figures are usually indicated in bold type, and can be found in horses past performances in the track program or Daily Racing Form.

Q: Where can I find additional information and tips on racing, wagering, and OTB?
A: Nassau OTBs website at In addition to providing a link to Internet wagering, the website offers detailed information on the latest OTB happenings, as well as handicappers selections, entries, results, scratches/changes, and racetrack profiles (overnights) featuring jockey, trainer, and morning-line odds information. There is also a video tour of the fabulous Race Palace Las Vegas-style teletheater, a link to download Nassau OTBs informative full-color newsletter, branch locations, special events, and much more.

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