Can consistency really be used as a horse racing handicapping factor? One of the worse aspects of horse racing handicapping and betting on horses is that there is so much risk and uncertainty. On the other hand, as in most investments, the amount of risk usually equals the opportunity to gain. The higher the odds and the more unlikely a horse is to win, the greater the payoff when it does. If it does.
It appears that there is much more consistency in harness racing than there is when handicapping thoroughbreds, or flats, as they are called. The very nature of how they run and how they are trained tends to make the harness horse, or Standardbred, much more durable and more likely to perform about the same from week to week. Therefore, when it comes to consistency, Standardbred get the nod, but that doesn’t mean it should be discounted when picking winners at the thoroughbred tracks.
Using consistency wisely means digging deeper than the average horse player and really understanding it as a factor that can be used to find winners and good bets. The easiest way to find a consistent horse is to look at its record of total races and to compare the number of times it has won or finished in the money. That’s the easiest way, but not the best way.
Because many runners must race into shape and the form cycle of the modern horse is very short, the statistics that you see in a racing program may be misleading. For instance, if a horse has raced thirty times in its life and has ten wins while another has raced thirty and had five wins, it doesn’t necessarily mean the horse with more wins is more likely to win today.
A typical thoroughbred horse races poorly when it first starts a new campaign and quickly gets into shape with a few races. Then, depending upon how healthy the horse is and how skilled the trainer may be, the horse will race well finishing in the money and winning some races before losing the edge and gradually losing form. In the case of lameness or injury that form may disappear rapidly.
So when you use consistency as a factor it is better to look at it in terms of form cycles and determine which part of the cycle the run may be at when the next race comes around. Looking back over the horses past races, see how it has fared in the past and how well it maintained its form during other cycles.