Like any sport out there, there is no sure way to predict the winner of a horse race. It doesn’t matter how much knowledge or experience you have. Everything can happen away from your expectations. However, this doesn’t mean that you can do nothing to improve your chances of winning big in a horse race, especially in the Kentucky Derby.

With extensive research and a hint of good luck, you might be a few thousand richer in the next horse racing event.

One of the most common mistakes of newbies in horse racing is putting their money on the horse alone. Horse racing is an excellent example of how man and beast can work together and achieve things, and just looking at the horse alone is a huge mistake.

But there are times when even a new jockey can win a race with little to no experience. Like mentioned earlier, everything can happen. However, a big tournament such as the Kentucky Derby has big-named jockeys and horses alike. Thus, it can be challenging for someone to predict who will win without research accurately.

Track Record

One of the first things you should check out in a horse is its track record, which can usually be seen in a guide. The consensus is a horse that has a consistent top three in its most recent races is a good bet. Emphasis on the most recent as if its races are too long ago, they are useless information. Not only that, but you also have to make sure to note the specific factors in those races. Things like the track surface, stall position, and even the days rested.

They may be minor things, but a professional punter doesn’t ignore those factors. Furthermore, all of those factors contributed to the horse’s performance, so knowing every one of them is crucial for you to know how the horse will do in the current race.

For example, you saw a horse that has a consistent top 2 in its last two races. One would think that that would also be the same as the current one. However, let’s say that those races have dirt tracks and the current one has synthetic. It would be ill-advised since the horse would need time to adjust to the track surface.

Also, the breed is something to consider. Specific breeds have their preferences in terms of track surfaces. Some breeds prefer dirt tracks, while others like synthetic ones. Breeds that push hard when running tend to do poorly in dirt tracks because their hooves will dig deep when running, hindering their speed. On the contrary, light-footed horses have no problem running in dirt.

Official Ranking

The official ranking is how bookmakers rank the horses and set the odds of the current race. Some people even bet based on just the rankings alone. This is ill-advised. Bookmakers enforce handicaps so people wouldn’t just bet on the most likely winners alone. This means that the most optimal horses are sometimes weighed down, so the other horses will have bets on them.

That said, it’s important to study and research each horse participating in the current race. However, we’re not saying that the rankings are wrong. Instead, we’re saying that basing your bets on the rankings alone is not enough as you also have to study up on each horse and the current race if you want to make an accurate prediction.

Repeat Contestant

You’ve probably heard of this saying before, “Never expect a horse to do something it hasn’t ever done before.” This is generally a good strategy for betting, especially when you’re betting on a horse that you think is special but has never won in the current track before.

Backing a horse that has won the current race is generally a good bet since it already has the experience of winning the race. Also, considering it’s the same track and race type, the horse has a good chance of winning the race, and winning it twice or thrice isn’t too far from the mark.

Days Rested

Most bettors will find this factor trivial, but this is also an important aspect of a horse when it comes to racing for professional punters. Just like human athletes, horses also need some time to rest. A horse that is under-rested will underperform during the race, and a horse that is too well-rested will be too relaxed in the race.

Generally, a horse will get back to its peak condition after a race or two after some time resting. However, if you want to know the exact range of the number of days horses should rest, it is around 30 to 60 days. But if you think that the horse is already in peak condition, you can lower that count.

Emotional Well-Being

Animals also have emotions, and of course, horses have them too. But what is that important? Well, yes. You see, one of the best things about actually going to a stadium to see a horse race is that you can see the horses going to their starting positions. In their parade, you can see how a horse is doing pre-race, and there, you can get an idea of how the horse will perform.

For example, you see a horse that is irritated, shifty, and sweating too much. That might mean that the horse is nervous about the race, which is usually a bad sign. On the contrary, a calm, steady-paced, stable horse means that it’s confident, which is a good sign.

Final Thoughts

Horse racing is a type of sport that has a lot of parts to mind and needs a lot of things to go perfectly. For bettors, though, having knowledge about the horses before the race is run is an advantage.

Although, everything can happen in a race, especially in a horse race that only takes a few seconds. That said, there is no way to predict its outcome accurately. However, you can do things to increase your chances of winning, especially if you do the tips above.