Many handicappers stay away from cheap claiming races at minor race tracks because of the high level if difficulty involved in accurately predicting the outcome. I do however go after these opportunities, based on an easy method that has proven successful for me. I do no recommend this for novice horse race bettors. You need to have quite a lot of experience and skill to be able to use the method as a tool rather than rely heavily on it. In the end, you must be the one who makes the final decision. The method is just there to save time and help me “pan for gold” among the many wagers available.
- I chiefly use my method in North America, since that is the horse racing region I’m most familiar with. If your expertise lies elsewhere, you need to adapt the method accordingly.
- I prefer to use my method on NW2L races, since they tend to be quite wild when it comes to reversals.
- I start out by discarding all horses that do not have at least one win in the horse’s last 10 races. This is a crude filter, but it does save me a lot of time and effort.
- From the remaining horses, I discard all horses that won their last race. Remember, we are looking at cheap claimers. Unlike the stars of horse racing, cheap claimers rarely have what it takes to win two races in a row. It does happen, of course, but not frequently.
If I want to be even stricter, I also discard all horses that finished second on their last race.
- I focus on the trainers. I discard any remaining horse where the trainer has a win percentage under seven percent.
- Any horses left? This is were the tricky part starts. I start investigating the horses more in detail. At first glance, they will of course look like a reach. They are cheap claimers. But can I find something in a horse’s past that can enlighten me? Is there any factor that will explain a poor performance in the past, a factor that is no longer there?
Maybe the last race was on an off track, while the coming race will most likely be on a nice and dry track? Maybe the horse is coming out of layoff? Maybe the horse had to do some cumbersome traveling to get to its last race, but is now racing close to home?
- If I manage to find a horse that I deem a good candidate for my wager, I check the price with various bookmakers. I am taking a big risk, so I want a good price. If the price isn’t good enough to compensate for the risk (in my opinion), I refrain from making the wager.