Horse racing handicapping is a complex method of assigning weight supplements to achieve the impost weight that every horse competing in a race has to weigh. The saddle pads have pockets called lead pads, which hold the balancing lead weights. When such additional lead weights are used, the horse is said to carry a handicap. As with most other competitive sports, horse racing too uses these lead weights as a handicap to neutralize the dis-advantages amongst competing horses.
Horse Racing Handicapping Theory
The handicapping theory is fascinating and a challenge to understand for most within the horse racing fraternity and the onlookers. The factors that determine handicapping are the following:
Speed – Handicaps are placed on the speed of the individual horses to provide an even playing ground for all the competing horses. The DRF or the publication, which lists the individual statistics of every horse in the competition, uses the Beyer speed figure, to help punters place their bets. Thus are generated the innumerable numbers that speculators will pour datos de carreras americanas over in determining the horse on which they want to place their bet.
Pace – There are handicaps placed on the pace that a horse can achieve but the jockeys control the performance and hence prediction of the race becomes speculative and scientific data becomes useless.
Form – An ‘in-form’ horse will finish strongly and will stay amongst the leading pack of horses. Therefore, the form will influence the winning chances of the horse.
Class – Horses of the same caliber are grouped into one class. Therefore, the high caliber horses compete in one class while the slower horses compete in a different class. However, a trainer based on the performance at a previous race can migrate to different class and hence class determination becomes subjective.
Post Position – A horse running on the innermost track is runs a shorter distance but could get stifled by horses on the outer tracks being faster and huddling on the inner tracks.
Other Influences in Determining the Handicap
Horse racing handicapping is further influenced by the physical condition of the track, the weather during the competition as well as the handicap or the supplementary weight that the competing horse has to carry. Purists include the daily bias of the racing track or surface as a addition causes which are beyond the control of the handicapper.
Horse racing handicapping weights is determined by the Racing Secretary who will evaluate such factors as performance, the distance the horse will have to race and then factor in the competing horse’s traits to provide an equalizing weight for each horse.
Horse racing handicapping is based on scientific calculations developed by several theorists. However, the human factors – the jockeys too contribute significantly towards determining the winning horse. Arriving at calculations that will factor in this influence and probably including jockey handicaps will be the ultimate equal playing ground for the horses. Then there will be no bias and the horses can win purely on the merit of their caliber and training and not by the sleight of the jockey’s whip!