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In the course of the last 45 years, the biggest advancement in handicapping has probably been the emergence of speed figures.

What is commonplace now was in its infancy back then when speed variants ruled the land.

The variants were simplistic. They were averages based on how many lengths above or below the track record the races on that day were.

Speed figures took that process to a new and infinitely more helpful level.

These days there’s no shortage of ways to wager on a horse race. One that should never be overlooked is perhaps the oldest.

While the payoff on a win bet might be dwarfed by a trifecta or superfecta, its simplicity and effectiveness can help ensure turning a profit on your wagers.

Of course, putting it into play is not as easy as it might seem. If you simply bet $2 to win on all nine of your selections on a card, turning a profit on a regular basis could become challenging. What’s needed is some sound judgment so that you can take advantage of the best opportunities.

It has been said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

So is wagering value.

As much as ascertaining value is a key element in handicapping a race, it’s as subjective as any other part of trying to pick a winner.

What could be an overlay to one bettor just might be seen as an underlay by another.

There might not be a clear-cut answer, yet that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. Value is too important to be pushed into the background during a day at the races.

These are surely not normal times. With the entire world facing the frightening specter of the coronavirus pandemic people across the nation are isolating themselves and what was once a steady stream of sports has been reduced to a trickle.

Only a handful of racetracks remain open and if you are playing one of them, there’s one angle to keep in mind.

Typically, gamblers should be wary of horses taking a big class drop. Often it’s a sign that the connections want to lose the horse or the runner is in a poor form cycle.

There are plenty of things that can go wrong in a race. There’s also something that can go awry before it.

If there’s one mishap in a horse race that should resonate with handicappers it’s when a horse breaks through the starting gate before the race begins.

While there are not statistics to back it up, talk to any longtime racetracker and they can probably count on one hand all of the times when a horse acted up enough to bust through the starting gate and still won the race.

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