Make your choices

For someone who knows little about horse racing, deciding how to bet is not necessarily easy. Bettors normally look to the race program for the information they need on the horse or horses they’re planning to bet on, including the horse’s origins, age, past performance, and form.  Horse racing enthusiasts all have their own evaluation criteria. But there’s some essential information that can help the uninitiated decide how to bet.

You can buy a race program at any of the betting parlours and at Hippodrome 3R for $2. The following information is provided in the race program for each horse.

Driver: The driver is a determining factor in a horse’s performance. Some drivers are more successful than others. The driver’s Universal Driver Rating System (UDRS) average is indicated next to his or her name. This rating is similar to those used in other professional sports and is an assessment of the driver’s record since the start of the year. The higher the average, the more successful the driver will be.

Date of past performance:  To keep in shape, horses compete about once a week. Although this is not a hard-and-fast rule, bettors will likely shy away from a horse that has not raced in a couple of weeks thinking that it’ll be out of shape.

Purse: The purse for a race is an indication of the amount of competition a horse is facing. Generally, when a purse is greater than the purse in the horse’s previous race, the horse is up against more competition. Conversely, if the purse for the current race is lower, the horse will be facing less competition. Every track however has different levels of purses, so the rule only applies when you compare two races contested on the same track.

Horse’s position at ½ mile: The horse’s position at the ½ mile mark indicates its capacity to position itself in the first half of the race. This statistic is worthwhile considering, given that about 70% of winners are in first, second or third position at the ½ mile mark.

Horse’s last ¼ mile time: Since horse races are all about speed, the last part of the race is a determining factor in the outcome. The faster a horse races in the last quarter mile, the more successful it will be.

Horse’s time to complete race: The time a horse takes to complete a race is an indication of how fast it is. And the faster it is, the better its chance of winning.

Current year race record: A horse’s race record for the year shows how successful it has been. Generally, a horse that finishes in the top three in 50% of its starts is an excellent race horse.

Best of luck!