Handicapping With Pace Shapes and Running Styles

One important lesson about handicapping is that there is a different and unique match up of horses in every single field. And even more importantly, for every race there is a different and unique pace shape and match up of running styles.

This is one of the most meaningful, and probably least focused on factors. Which is of course very good for us because it gives us a formidable edge on our competition, which is everyone else out there betting on the same race.

The more of an edge you have, the better your chances are of success, and that's what handicapping the thoroughbreds is all about, increasing your odds and chances of maintaining a positive ROI (Return On Investment).

What I mean by matching up running styles is identifying and comparing running styles for every horse entered in a race you have deemed worthy of playing.

By doing so, you will define the Pace Shape of each race you look at. Every horse has one of 4 running styles, E, EP, P and S. The main reason why approximately 65% of favorites lose is because of unfavorable running style match ups.

How many times have you seen a horse who jogged around the track wire to wire in his last race with fractions that make him look like a champion, get soundly trounced as the favorite in his next outing?

The reason is usually poor pace match up this time. In his last race, he was probably in a superior pace match up which allowed him (possibly at a great price) to lead comfortably every step of the way.

He was likely the lone true speed of the race, possibly the only E or EP horse in the field. His losing effort may have resulted from encountering 2 or 3 other front running types that interfered with him capitalizing on his early speed capabilities.

Another common scenario in which the favorite loses is when he is an early plodder or stone-cold closer possibly with an outside post position) in a race with few early speed types.

The point is, without seeing or visualizing how the race is going to be run and how each of the contenders match up against the opposing running styles, you are only seeing part of the whole picture, and this is a real good way to burn money.

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