Three Important Stats in Handicapping Stakes Races
Over the past year, I have been developing a formula to tabulate the winner of stakes races. Now of course there is no definitive formula that could ever be created to handicap horse races, unless you want the racing to be done on paper. This formula picks a horse that would land in the money (1st, 2nd, or 3rd) 86% of the time, out of 30* stakes races from this year. It also picked the winner of the races 52% of the time. Nice odds. But I am not here to tell you my secret to handicapping stakes races. No, that would not be fair of me (oh, FYI, I made this formula in two hours in June of this year). However, I will be telling you the three statistics I find to be most important in handicapping a stakes race. I repeat STAKES RACE. That means a graded ungraded race that is considered a stakes race. That does not mean maidens, regular handicaps, claimers, etc. Also, I have not tested this on races outside of the US and Canada, so I do not know if this works over seas or anywhere else (I assume it would but do not count on it). So, we are all in line, and away we go!
- Finish Position in the Last Race
- This may seem important in all handicapping, but this is a little bit different. In handicapping regular races, you are looking for horses in their prime (coming off a win or a second after a win in the previous race). In stakes races, you are going to look at ONLY the last race, not the race before, the last race. Also, look for horses coming off seconds and thirds. These are the good horses, so mark them down. Then, find the horses finished in first in their last race. Mark them down, but in a separate area then the others. Those horses will only matter depending on the distance in the last race, which I will get to later. Throw out any horses the finished sixth, seventh, or lower in their last race. The horses that finished fourth or fifth, keep them but put them in the back of your mind, it is unlikely, though possible, that they will become important.
- Distance in the Last Race
- Now here is a big factor, distance. You are going to want to know the conversion of miles/furlongs to meters for this, as that is what I will be using. You are going to want to scan through the horses that finished second or third in their last race for the distance in their last race. The good horses are the ones that came off a performance of 1800 to 2000 meters (1 1/8 mi to 1 1/4 mi). Note: this is in the case of a race that takes place at about that distance or longer; if for a shorter distance like 1200 meters (6 furlongs), then look for a horse at about 1000 to 1600 meters (5 furlongs to 1 mi). The horses that came off a performance like that are likely the best horses. Now look at the distance for the first place horses. If it is in the same range or longer, scratch them out. You are probably shocked to hear that. Now there are occasions when a horse like that actual does win, but most of the time they do not win, maybe hit the board, but do not win. They are not the favorites though, do not confuse them with the favorites (it is possible, but not all the time). But do keep them in the back of you mind as if you find something about them that makes you like them a lot, by all means do so. If the first place horses are coming off distances shorter than that but are racing at a distance close to, if not over 2000 meters (1 1/4 mi) then keep them.
- Distance in Upcoming Race
- You are probably wondering why this is so important in handicapping stakes races above other important information. Well, this comes into play as a constant factor, something to compare them too. You want to use it to weed out the horses that are just not having a big chance in the end. You want the distance to be as close to 2000 meters as possible, unless the average distance of the field is closer to 1500 meters (7.5 furlongs). This is the ideal distance and will be able help you in this last step. Explaining this is less effective then showing you. Let us say that you have narrowed it down to two horses, one coming off a second at 2000 meters, and another coming off a second at 1800 meters. The race itself is at 2000 meters and the field is of 12 horses (including the two mentioned), with only two coming off a win and the eight coming off a fourth or worse. No horse had a distance of over 2000 meters in their last race. Who would you go with after doing the first two steps? The horse that came off a second at 1800 meters. Why? He would be more closer to the 3rd quartile of the field then the horse that raced at 2000 meters. Now you are probably saying that this whole thing was about averaging the horses and finding the third quartile. Not exactly, but that is kind of what happens. It is actually taking the average of each category, and taking the average of the top three horses (coming off a win at the longest distances). Then taking the average of those two values that I have given them by plugging them into my formula. This last stat is also good for comparing different races. Although this might not be useful in one race, if you want to compare to horses coming off a win each at a different distance, you can now see that the horse at the longer distance is better, but not the winner of the two. The one closer to the average of the field plus the average of the top 3, will be the best.
Now I am not going to say that all other statistics are unimportant. They are NOT. But just using these three have helped me so much this past year and hopefully even more years to come. I still use past performance sheets once in a while, but use them as a supplement to this trick. My secret formula has picked the winners of all three of the Triple Crown races this year, among others. I promise you that this formula is real and it actually works. This is NOT a hoax. Good luck to all and hopefully these tips will help you succeed in the upcoming stakes races. Thank you.
*This number will be updated as I continue to do more stakes races with it. The percentages will also be updated. Thank you again.