If only I had the right horse racing system. How often have I heard that? Well, for as long as people have been going to the track, horse players have been saying this in their search of the perfect horse racing system.
Horse racing is a difficult betting exercise. There are horses and jockeys and trainers, and yes, there is a lot of luck involved. But there is also skill, which comes with experience and study.
One of the great things about horse racing is that it is both an art and a science. Computer whizzes have long sought to build the perfect horse racing system, but it’s not that easy. You can study tens of thousands of races, build spreadsheets and develop speed ratings. That’s the science part of the game. And it can help you become a really good handicapper. But if that’s all you rely on you will be incomplete. Data alone won’t build you a winning horse racing system. The reason is the other half of the equation.
Horse racing is also part art. The reason is there are too many variables to all be associated with data and spreadsheets. For example, horses are not mechanical runners that run to the numbers on a sheet. Horses are living and breathing animals that have good days and bad days. And then there are the jockeys. They have to make split-second decisions and can be wrong as often they are right.
Where the art comes in is in knowing when to deviate from the data. A horse may not look the fastest in the race, but he’s improving and getting better and better with each race. Or a jockey may be on a hot streak. You might think that betting a jockey on a hot streak is folly, but it’s not. There could be plenty of good reasons for the streak. Perhaps he’s just received some great advice and is riding a little differently. Or perhaps the track is ideally suited to his riding style. Or, maybe he is riding for a certain trainer that is starting to win with all his horses.
For all these reasons, it is nearly impossible to build a good horse racing system with data alone. The best horse racing systems are terribly creative in the way that they analyze speed ratings and the shape of today’s race. If you want a good listing of horse racing systems, you can find them at Horse Racing Nation.