Pace handicapping is still a very important and useful way to find good bets. Some lazy people use speed figures and pay the price with low mutuels and lots of failures. Pace handicappers put forth a little more effort, but can find much better bets. Pace handicapping is still as much an art as a science, because it involves some imagination as well as mathematical ability.
Therefore, if you want to be a successful horse racing handicapper, and make money betting on horses, you’d better learn pace handicapping. Even if you do, however, be warned, trying to make money betting on horse races is extremely risky and you should never bet money you cannot afford to lose. At first glance, pace handicapping can be a daunting task. Feet per second, velocity, graphs, etc., can quickly confuse you and seem hopelessly complicated.
Fortunately, however, it can be much simpler. First of all, start out with the four horses in the race who have the lowest morning line odds. The winner will usually be found in these runners. Since the winner is in these runners, the horse who will be the pacesetter is often in these four horses as well. There may be cases of a longshot setting fast fractions early in a race, however, the real class and speed of the race will soon reveal itself and that horse is almost always one of the top four.
Look at the top four horses and start by adding the numbers in each call column for each horse’s last four races. Put the total fro each call over the column. For instance, if a horse has a 1 in the quarter call for its last race, a 2 for the previous race, and 3 for each of its next two races, it would earn a 9. So this for the quarter and half call in a sprint race and the quarter, half and three quarter call in a route race.
Now look at those four horses and see which one has the lowest numbers. This will probably be your front runner or a horse who is very close to the lead. Take the top two with the lowest numbers and they will be in contention early in the race. If there are two horses with extremely low numbers who seem to fade, you may want to look closely at the other two horses and see which one will be running close enough to pick up the pieces at the end of the race and past those two.
On the other hand, if your two front runners do not have blazing speed but only moderate early speed, the winner will often be among them. Handicapping horse races is a complicated business, but pace handicapping can be simpler than it looks.