Horse Sense The Racing Corner
When betting on live horse racing there are many strategies:
- pick your favourite number
- pick the best looking horse
- pick your favourite horse’s name
- be an ‘expert’ handicapper by checking out the odds first
There are so many scenarios, so we are here to help you along!
TIP: In each race a list of past performances are outlined for every horse. Check the TIME column in the program and compare finishing times for each horse. This could help you decide which horse will finish first!
TIP: There are three very simple wagering types to get you started and introduced into the world of racing. Choose one horse and try one of the following:
- WIN: this means the horse you bet on has to come in first place for you to win.
- PLACE: this means the horse you bet on can come in first or second place for you to win.
- SHOW: this means the horse you bet on can come in first, second or third for you to win! That’s three chances in one bet!
All bets are a minimum of $2.00. Just imagine the possibilities!
TIP: Now that you know the basics, let’s try picking the DAILY DOUBLE winners.
DAILY DOUBLE: In our live race card, we offer a Daily Double pick for the first and second race. What you need to do is choose the winner of the first and second race…that’s it! Also, check your program to see if there is a late Daily Double offered for the last and second-last races in the card. This gives you two great ways to pick the winners!
TIP: Let’s look at a horse’s stats to see how it has been doing.
STATS: take a look in the far right hand column of your program. It will look similar to the following:
This will tell you the current year’s number of starts, wins, 2nds, 3rds and money earned for that particular horse. Compare with the other horses in the field and see if you have a winner! Every piece of handicapping helps.
TIP: Let’s look at a horse’s morning line odds to see what the experts guess its chances are in the day’s race card.
ODDS: Take a look in the far left hand column of your program directly under the post-position number. You will find the odds for each horse, for example – 8-1, 5-2, 10-1. Basically, the higher the odds, the least chance the ‘experts’ feel this horse will win the race. These odds are forecast earlier in the week and will tell you what that horse will pay on a $2 win ticket. Of course, these odds change once the pools are open and people start betting on the horses. This gives you an idea what the competition in the field is like; however, don’t forget, the higher the odds, the more payout if it wins!
TIP: Take a look at the horse’s current year money earned to see how it compares to other horses.
ODDS: Take a look in the far right hand
column of your program. For most horses there will be a list of money earned for the last year, current year and lifetime. Money earned can indicate how likely it is for the horse to win, place or show. The more money earned - maybe the more chances of winning for you!
TIP: This month let’s look at the Driver’s stats.
DRIVER STATS: By viewing these stats you can see the driver’s ability based on their stats. These stats are located in the program beside the driver’s name and silk colours (the colours they wear during the race). The information will appear like this:
(1281-167-151-158 -.238) where:
- (1281) - Total Number of Drives
- (167) - 1st Place Finishes
- (151) - 2nd Place Finishes
- (158) - 3rd Place Finishes
- (.238) UDRS - Universal Drivers Rating Statistics
This is much like a baseball player’s batting average. Anything between .250 and .300 is good and ratings over .300 are excellent!
TIP: This month let’s look at the Driver’s weight.
DRIVER’S WEIGHT: In standardbred racing (horse with sulky) there are drivers and in thoroughbred racing there are jockeys (jockeys ride on the horse). This month when you take a look at the driver’s weight it could give you an indication of an edge your driver has on other drivers in the race. Although weight isn’t as much a factor in standardbred racing as it is in thoroughbred racing, every bit of knowledge will help you handicap. You can find the weight of the driver beside the driver’s name in your race program.
TIP: This month take a look at the trainer’s (global) U.T.R.S. (universal trainer rating system).
TRAINER’S RATINGS: A trainer is very important in the day to day care of the horse as well as the preparation of the horse for racing. Part of the training includes daily exercises, feeding and how the horse is ‘hung up’, which means how the equipment is hung on the horse and how it is used. Looking at the trainer’s U.T.R.S. will give you an indication of how that trainer is doing with their horse. However, in doing so, also refer to the Drivers and Trainers Statistics page in the front of the program to look at how many starts the trainer has had which will also effect the U.T.R.S.
TIP: Debunking the lingo Part I.
TERMS & DEFINITIONS:
- Pacer - pacers move the legs on one side of their body in tandem-left front and rear, right front & rear. Pacers account for about 80% of all harness horses and are aided in maintaining their gait through plastic loops called hopples.
- Trotters - trotters move on a diagonal gait, the left front and right rear legs move in unison, as do the right front and left rear. Trotting is the more natural gait for the Standardbred, but it takes a great deal of skill to train and maintain a trotter.
- Hopples - the straps which connect the front and rear legs on the same side of a horse. This helps balance their stride & maintain a pacing gait.
- Parked Out - when a horse cannot find a position along the rail in a race and is forced to race outside those on the inside.
TIP: Debunking the lingo Part II.
TERMS & DEFINITIONS:
- Sulky - Also know as the cart or race bike, the sulky is attached to the harness and carries the driver which the horse pulls.
- Post Position - Horses are numbered by post position which tells you where they are starting in a race. Number one is closest to the inside track working outwards. In some cases, horses with higher post positions (i.e. #9) will follow behind the #1horse, depending on the size of the track. Generally, the closer a horse starts to the inside rail, or inside barrier of the track, especially on smaller tracks, the better its chance of winning.
- Free Legged - A pacer which races without wearing hopples*. (see last month’s tip for ‘Hopples’ definition)
- Hand - A unit of measurement (four inches) by which a horse’s height is measured. A horse which stands 15 hands is five feet tall all its withers.
TIP: Debunking the lingo Part III.
TERMS & DEFINITIONS FOR WAGERING:
- Exactor - You must pick the first and second place finishers in exact order in the same race. For Instance, if you bet “Flamboro, race 3, a $2 exactor on #7 and #4”, the #7 horse must come in first and the #4 horse must come in second.
- Triactor - You must pick the first three finishers in exact order in the same race. For instance, if you bet “Flamboro, race 3, a $2 triactor on #7, #4 and #9”, then the #7 horse must come in first, the #4 horse must come in second and the #9 horse must come in third.
- Superfecta - You must pick the first four finishers in exact order in the same race. For instance, if you bet “Flamboro, race 3, a $2 superfecta on #7, #4, #9 and #2”, then the #7 horse must come in first, the #4 horse second, the #9 horse third and the #2 horse fourth.
TIP: Debunking the lingo Part IV.
TERMS & DEFINITIONS FOR WAGERING:
- Post Position - Generally, the closer a horse starts to the inside rail, or barrier of the track, especially on smaller tracks, the better its chance of winning. At the start, horses must either leave (start quickly) to get a good position or else find a place on the rail to avoid racing on the outside of other horses. When racing on the outside the horse is said to be ‘parked out’ and loses ground on every turn. A horse on the inside has a better chance to get to the rail or quickly get a good position.
- Post Time - The starting time of a race.
- Purse - The prize money which is offered and paid in each race to owners of horses finishing in the first five positions.
- Scratch - The removal of a horse from a race after its entry has been accepted.
TIP: How to make a wager.
TERMS & DEFINITIONS FOR WAGERING: Let’s look at how you actually tell a mutuel teller what you want to wager on:
- Call out the name of the track you want to wager on. Remember, you may be on-track to watch the live racing, but tracks carry other thoroughbred and standardbred races via simulcast.
- Call out the race number you are wagering on.
- Call out the horse’s number you want to wager on. The tellers do not have a list of the horses names in front of them so you must tell them the number of the horse in order to get your wager in properly.
- Next, call out the type of wager you want on that horse or set of horses. Example, WIN, PLACE, SHOW, EXACTOR, TRIACTOR, etc.
This Is How It All Comes Together
"Flamboro Downs, Race #2, #9 to Win"
Translation: I have just wagered on Race #2 at Flamboro for the #9 horse to come in first! It’s just that easy!
TIP: Debunking the Lingo Part V.
TERMS & DEFINITIONS:
- A stakes race is one in which part of the prize is put up by the owner(s) of the horses in the race. The date of the race must be in the subsequent year of closing nominations.
- Series races consist of more than one race. Nominations close less than six weeks before the race date. All of the money offered by the track (or sponsor) is added to the horses’ nomination, sustaining and starting payments to make a purse pool, which is then divided for each race.
- FAQ: About the Ontario Sires Stakes Program - “The Ontario Sires Stakes program was established in 1974. The objective of the program is to promote breeding of Standardbred horses in Ontario and to provide economic incentives to breeders to improve the quality of the Ontario sired horse.”
TIP: Debunking the Lingo Part VI.
TERMS & DEFINITIONS:
- An Early Closing Event is a race in which nominations are closed at least 6 weeks before the date of the race. All of the money offered by the track is added to all of the nomination, sustaining and starting payments to determine the total purse amount. All payments are forfeits. (Example: Flamboro Breeders)
- A Late Closing Event is a race in which nominations close less than 6 weeks and more than 5 days before the date of the race. All of the money offered by the track is added to all of the nomination, sustaining and starting payments to determine the total purse amount. All payments are forfeits. Time bars or track qualifying standards are not used as conditions for late closing races. (Example: Signature Pacing Series)
- An Overnight Event is a race in which declarations close no more than 3 clear days (omitting Sundays and Christmas Eve/Day) before the date of the race. In the absence of conditions or notice to the contrary, declarations must close not later than 12 noon of the day preceding the race. (Example: Our regular race card)
TAKE A LOOK AT THE HORSE RACING INDUSTRY TIMELINE…
Major events, changes and milestones that have formed the industry we know today:
- 1860–The first running of the Queen’s Plate on the Carleton Race Course
- 1920–Federal Ministry of Agriculture starts supervision betting
- 1937–Photo finish camera system is developed
- 1947–Timing is converted from 1/4 to 1/5 sec
- 1950–Ontario Racing Commission is formed
- 1954–Old Woodbine opens for Standardbreds
- 1963–Mohawk Raceway opens in Campbellville
- 1965–Windsor Raceway opens
- 1971–Driver helmets and wheel disc covers become mandatory
- 1975–Flamboro Downs opens
- 1977–Inaugural running of Confederation Cup at Flamboro Downs
- 1986–Simulcasting & Inter-Track wagering implemented for the expansion of the industry
- 1989–Provincial Government approves Teletheaters in Northern Ontario to help Sudbury Downs expand its market
- 1994–Woodbine is the first track to host both Thoroughbred & Standardbred racing in the same day
- 1997–The Ontario Jockey Club sets up Horse Player Interactive, providing access to racing and account info via internet in support of telephone betting accounts
- 1998–Province approves slots for 13 Ontario Racetracks
- 1999–Various tracks announcing purse increases due to revenue flow from slot share (as much as 350% increase in some cases)
- 2001–Georgian Downs opens in Innisfil, south of Barrie
- 2003–Ontario Sires Stakes Program totals $21.15M
All Standardbreds wear the basic equipment of a harness and a bridle, along with a Buxton martingale which keeps the harness from slipping. Below is a Standardbred outfitted in the most basic equipment.
Standardbreds also utilize a variety of other equipment. An Open bridle is a bridle that does not have blinkers or “blinds” on it and allows the horse full vision on all sides. There are also Blind bridles, Kant-See Back and Peek-A-Boo bridles, all of which allow different views for the horse. Hobbles help pacers and trotters to maintain their gate. Knee boots protect horses who strike their knees while pacing or trotting.
Listen to the daily race changes for equipment changes that may affect your horse’s performance!
Learn more about the industry! Here are some interesting facts about horseracing:
DID YOU KNOW…
- Ontario’s 18 supervised racetracks generate 67% of all wagering in Canada
- All modern Thoroughbreds descend from one of three foundation stallions imported to England from the Middle East in the late 17th and early 18th centuries: the Byerley Turk, the Darley Arabian and the Godolphin Arabian
- First run in 1860, the Queen's Plate is North America's oldest continuous running thoroughbred horse race. Run at a distance of 1-1/4 miles for 3-year-olds, foaled in Canada, the Queen’s Plate is contested annually in late June at Woodbine Racetrack.
- Standardbred “Pacing Machine” Cam Fella earned over two million during his career and sired 5 other horses who would also exceed two million dollars in career earnings.
- FACT: When a driver takes a firm hold of the horse with his driving lines, he is rating the horse. This means that he is conserving his horse's energy until the end of the race gets nearer. Many drivers prefer to conserve a horse's energy for the long stretch drive over mile tracks, which in some cases, is as far as one quarter of a mile long. The most successful horses are very well-mannered and easy to control.
NEW TO HORSE RACING?
Want to know how to place a bet but find the program a little intimidating? No problem! Everything you need to know is available with the Flamboro Downs “Pocket Pony.” It’s chocked full of the basic information you’ll need to know to make your horse racing experience the best! The “Pocket Pony” conveniently fits into your pocket or purse so you can take it with you to use any time you’re at the races and need a quick reference. The “Pocket Pony” gives you simple, brief and easy-to-understand explanations for the types of wagers, the different race categories and a step-by-step guide on how to place a bet with either a mutuels teller or from a self-serve terminal. The “Pocket Pony” is FREE and available exclusively at Flamboro Downs! It’ll make betting on the races easier and more fun!