Choosing which information found in the past performance records of horses is worthwhile and which is not can make or break a handicapper. In my experience the following aspects are worthy of considering:
- Quirin Speed Points: determining which horse/horses is/are the speed of the race is the logical first step to handicapping a race, and Quirin Speed Points are the easiest, most reliable way to accomplish this task.
- Running styles and race shapes: After determining which horse is the speed of the race, determining how the race will unfold is the best place to start. To do that, you need to assess how each horse entered into a race is likely to run against the competition it faces today.
The following aspects are borderline worthless:
- Speed Numbers: I once believed in speed numbers, but wisdom comes with age, and I now wonder how anyone can believe a manipulated number is somehow more accurate than the actual time of a race is beyond my grasp.
- Track Variants: Impossible to determine with any degree of accuracy.
- Beyer Speed Figures: The worst hoax ever perpetuated upon the race-going public.
- Par times: The dynamics of every race are different, and profiles based on average times for a given distance are highly flawed. They have no bearing on what will happen in the race under scrutiny.
- Class: An elusive element. Worrying about which horse is the “class” in a race is daunting, time consuming, and mostly a waist of time.
- Post Position: The post position a horse will break from has little, if any, influence on the outcome of the race.
- Jockey: A competent trainer will employ a competent jockey. Issue closed.
- Weight: Probably the most overemphasized factor in horse racing.