Trust Your Eyes

There is more information available today for the horseplayer than ever before. We have multiple past performance choices, speed and pace figure choices, selections services, pace projectors, analysis, and just about everything else you can think of and might need to speculate on the outcome of a horse race. We can even see who ran more feet and inches than another. True, most if not all of these tools are subjective and open to interpretation which is where skill and experience come in, but if so many people are looking at the same data it stands to reason many will fall on the same horse. It is a lot more difficult to find an edge or a hidden gem in this environment.

I have always said race watching, including replays, is a learned art — a vital one in today’s game. One of the reasons I love wagering on European races so much lately is that the past performances are scarce on information compared to here in the states. Contrary to what your first thought maybe, I like that. While I am definitely a fan of the more info, the better, nobody in Europe asked me so I am left to deal with the limited info and I welcome it. This places an even greater amount of significance on my ability to watch races and see things for what they are and will be.

Most people watch a race or replay looking at the winner, leader, or who they bet. That’s fine for round one. To get a feel for a race and how it will play out going forward, you have to watch it a few times. You have to get away from what everyone else is watching and watch the middle of the pack runners and the back markers. This is where you will find the hidden gems. It takes time and patience but can really pay off and create an edge.

Personally, I like to look for horses who were in uncomfortable spots. This will often hinder a horses chances and also at times prompt a rider to save a horse for another day. Horses who are between horses will catch my eye. Horses who are pinned on the inside will also catch my eye. Horses who get challenged when they try and move also get my attention. There are many scenarios to look for and what I love most about all of these is you are trusting your own eyes.

We have all seen Beyer numbers that don’t make sense to us and even conflict with other Beyer numbers. We have seen races where we question the fractions only to find out they were not accurate. I have seen trip notes in past performances that simply do not match what I saw and my notes. Data is only as good as entered, but your own eyes won’t lie to you, and you can grit them.

We all see all the different opinions every day. History has shown when money is involved there are always people that will play games. Maybe we can’t always trust the information fed to us, but we can always trust what we can see.

Last week we got to see Maximum Security return to form and take the Haskell. This week we will get to see the Jim Dandy. I suspect whoever takes that race will be right behind Maximum Security leading the three year old division. Across the Atlantic, the great Enable heads to post also. Her resume is starting to point her out as one of the best of all time. That alone should make you want to tune in. Who knows if you watch closely you may pick up a Breeders’ Cup Winner or two.

Last, when watching races, it can also help to isolate horses who had it their own way or fell into a perfect scenario. A bet against or a toss can be as valuable as a bet on at times.

Enjoy the races this weekend and always.

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Jon Stettin

Since childhood, Jon has always had a deep love and respect for the Sport of Kings. His years of experience have earned him a well respected spot in the industry as a handicapper. He now is a frequent contributor to AmWager as well as writing for his own site.

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