The majority of handicappers insist that handicapping horse races is an orderly process based upon fundamentals — i.e. using factors such as speed, pace, class, etc. to determine which horse has the best chance to win a race. These are all factors readily available to them in the past performance records of the horse(s) they are about to wager on. They believe that the key to success at the windows is picking winners; that, by adhering to the fundamentals taught to them in books or by personal mentors, they will somehow find a way to come out on top when the days is done.
Most people who watch the tote board do so looking for confirmation that the horse they have selected to win has the backing of others in the belief that low odds is a positive sign that their selection is worthy of a wager. Unfortunately, making long-term profits when your primary factors for ultimately placing a wager are based on how good the horse looks in its past performance records is nearly impossible. The pari-mutuel system itself makes this a certainty as your fellow handicappers see the same factors, make their decisions based on those factors, and the odds will plummet, and nobody makes any money.
What people should look for are instances when the odds on their selection are advancing upward, thus providing them with a positive wagering scenario. Michael Beychok, winner of the 2012 DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship, has been quoted as saying, “Odds drive 90% of my decisions when making straight bets.” This man has it right while the majority of handicappers continue to focus their attention on picking a winner in every race, or, worse yet, playing exotics, such as $2 Exacta tickets on combinations that will pay less than $10.00 — if they are lucky enough to cash the ticket.