all in Tips

A handicapper has many ways to pick the winner of a race.

There are tip sheets, past performances, and speed figures, just to name a few.

Yet sometimes simply reading the conditions of a race, and finding the loophole that a trainer intends to exploit, can steer you toward a winner.

Class is one of the most important elements in handicapping and a rather powerful angle involves backing horses who tumble into a claiming race for the first time.

Any time a horse descends into a claimer, there’s a cause for skepticism. At times, it can surely mean a horse has fallen into a declining form cycle.

Then there are times when circumstances indicate that a horse has a big class edge, which he should be able to exploit against weaker competition.

Pace can often make a race.

And pace can often set up a race rather nicely for a longshot.

Looking at the first race at Belmont Park on June 9, it wasn’t hard to see that the several of the main contenders would be embroiled in a hotly contested battle for the early lead.

An optional claimer for horses bred in New York, the seven-furlong race attracted a field of six, with five of them showing a stakes appearance in their past performances.

If you had a win bet on Destin in last year’s Belmont Stakes, you suffered a bad beat in more ways than you thought.

Yes, it was painful to lose in the final stride by a couple of inches with an 8-1 shot.

Making it worse was that the profile of the typical Belmont winner was totally in your favor.

The Belmont Stakes is rather famously known as “The Test of the Champion.”

These days, a more fitting moniker might be “The Rest of the Champion.”

In reviewing the last 10 winners of the Belmont, the dominant trend has involved five weeks of rest for the horses who have turned in the best efforts in the demanding mile-and-a-half final jewel in the Triple Crown.

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