Crutches for a Handicapper

My first experience with advising a friend on how to bet held glory and shame all in one. I had been working here at Blood-Horse for several months when the Keeneland 2007 fall meet started.

I had been laying out a lot of stories for the daily PDF/News and knew who was hot and who was not. 

My friend Joey went to the track with a group of mutual friends one day, while I was at work. I had researched some horses the night before and basically played off trainers and familiar names. I also knew how successful the horses were, because I had their work times and race recaps due to the nightly lay out work.

I told Joey what horses to go watch in the paddock as well betting strategies for each race. Amazingly, he won money based on my advice. When the feature race of the day came, it was time for Joey to put my skills to the test for me.

I went bold with the superfecta picks. Four horses stood out in that field and man, I knew they were going to help me win a superfecta. I compared their previous race histories to that of the competition.

Alas, I did not tell Joey to BOX the superfecta when he bet it. All four horses came in, but the third and fourth horses were flipped. So Joey did not win money on them, but if he had boxed it, like I forgot to tell him to do, he would have won $14,000 off that race! I slapped myself and told him the news. He was just happy he won some money during the day.

So with that story in mind, here are my Derby picks. Two scenarios come to mind.

1. Colonel John - favored
2. Z Fortune - my long shot who will be successful
3. Pyro - to clean up

The above scenario plays out with the factor being how Big Brown can not handle the talent he is running with.


1. Gayego (after talking with a close friend he is one of the few consistent horses this year, with great finishes in his races.)
2. Colonel John - I am happy with his workouts
3. Big Brown - has talent and will be favored, but looses steam in wake of competition

The above scenario plays out with Pyro fading in the race.

Now let's talk about the Kentucky Derby and betting strategies. Steve Haskin and Jason Shandler have great blogs and information about the Triple Crown trail.

So, what are your strategies for the Derby or graded races in general? Ten cent superfectas, multiple exactas, one horse across the board, bets based on trainers or a specific pedigree, past performances? Or maybe which horse name is the prettiest in the Oaks and most dashing in the Derby, unless the fillies venture in the Derby.

I am researching and trying to understand handicapping more in depth. I would love to know your strategies.

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