Two things that go together like ham and eggs, cheese and crackers, and other things that go together like two things are speed and pace in a horse race. It’s sort of like love and marriage, supposedly you can’t have on without the other. You can have a slow pace in a race and have lots of speed, but too much pace may actually lead to a slow race time.
The key in horse racing handicapping and betting on horse races is to figure out the pace and then see which horse(s) will have the necessary stamina and speed to carry it to the finish line. The triple crown races of 2011 were examples of pace and speed and how they work to set up front runners and closers.
Looking at the Preakness we see that Shackleford did indeed have the necessary stamina to outlast the late charging Animal Kingdom. But in the longer Kentucky Derby he did not. Students of thoroughbred pedigrees expected that to happen just the way it did. What many people weren’t sure about was what the pace would be in the Derby and Preakness.
Horses that close well at the end of a race, but don’t have a lot of early speed, benefit from fast early speed duels. Shackleford was not seriously challenged and ran his own style wrexham racecourse events of race in both events. Finding that situation in a race that a horse has the right pedigree to win can be one of the best bets in horse racing. On the other hand, you may handicap and think you know what the pace scenario will be only to find that a jockey has been given instructions to change tactics and urge a late closer on earlier in the race or to try to hold back a front runner and save something for the later stages.
While changing or trying to change a horse’s running style by force is a very risky thing to do, it occasionally pays off. If you see a horse that is fighting the jockey and struggling to go on while the rider is pulling back on the reins and trying to throttle back the early speed, don’t be surprised if the horse runs a much better race next time out. Most of the time they lose in a race where they’ve been in a battle of wills with the rider, but the effect is sometimes a smarter horse in its next race and that can benefit the smart bettor.
As you handicap a race check the runner’s speed figures to find any that run to the par of the race, especially in races for older horses. Next, check running styles against the track model to find horse’s whose style works well with that distance and track. Finally, check the pedigree and actual racing record to find a runner(s) that can win at the distance and on that surface. The horses that fit the best will be top contenders.
If too many horses will be vying for the lead or if there is only one front runner, a situation will probably set up to favor the lone front runner or a closer coming from off the pace to run down the tired front runners. If you can’t figure out the pace scenario it is probably best to pass on the race.