all in Tips

Forgiveness is a key part of handicapping.

Learning when you should excuse a weak or disappointing effort can sometimes be rewarded with some winning tickets on a longshot who was actually a logical contender in his or her previous starts.

To illustrate, take a look at the ninth race at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 7. Creative Courage was listed at 8-1 in the morning line after finishing ninth in his last start.

Trip handicapping is one of the more popular handicapping tools, yet it has many facets. There are numerous things to look for in a race that can point out a horse who will exit that race and then turn in either an equally good or better performance next time.

One involves wide trips.

Think about it. If Horse A hugs the rail every step of the way and wins by a nose over Horse B, who races four paths wide the entire way, then it’s rather logical to assume Horse B turned in a better effort because of all of the ground it lost.

One of the great mysteries of the 2017 racing season took place on Dec. 24.

How in the world did Psalmody, a horse trained by Todd Pletcher, pay $20.40 to win at Gulfstream Park?

The same Todd Pletcher who is winning at a 37 percent clip at the meet and is a runaway leader in his bid to win a 15th straight training title at Gulfstream’s Championship Meet.

That’s not an easy question to answer.

The biggest mismatch in horse racing might very well be a maiden in a stakes race.

But not always.

There are times when a maiden merits attention in a stakes, and there were a couple of good examples of it in the last few months.

Both involved 2-year-old stakes, which are usually filled with inexperienced horses, and there is a certain logic to that. Juvenile runners often move from a maiden victory to a stakes and sometimes that maiden winner is sent off as a favorite in that added-money race.

The Breeders’ Cup was held at Del Mar on Nov. 3 and 4. It seems like months have passed already but in actuality it’s only been a couple of weeks.

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