Horse Racing Selections and Handicapping Reports

This article covers maiden races on the dirt or all-weather surfaces.

We already covered the non-playable maiden races when it comes to too many first-timers or too many professional losers in a maiden race. First one does not need an explanation and is easy to spot. Second one is a little harder to determine. I personally use the finishing order in the comment lines. If I see a bunch of 6 of 9, 7 of 11, 4 of 6, .... finishes, I do not consider this race a good race for vertical plays and try to use this to my advantage in horizontal plays. Vertical plays in this race may be good candidates for boxcar payoffs but these big payoffs don't impress me since I keep records of my losing tickets.

When there is a good maiden claiming race, there are important factors we use to narrow down the top contenders. Remember that we are trying to find that ONE key horse in the race and some races are just too competitive to do this.

Our top factor in a maiden claiming race is our recent pace figure (less than 42 days layoff) compared to pace par for the race. Next important factor is our class figure. The reason we compare the pace numbers to pace par is to determine the strength of the field and confidence level in our selection. If a race has a par of 82 and the pace numbers are in low 70's, we give a little more importance to class figures. If the race par is 78 and our key selection has a pace of 82, we play the horse a lot heavier in the WIN hole of exotics.

Now let's look at a few examples.

pace greater than pace par In this race, we notice that the top horse has an 84 pace rating that is well above the rest of the field and also is above the pace par which makes the horse a stronger win candidate than a win and place when it comes to exotics. We'll play this horse on top of our vertical plays and singled in horizontal plays.


more than one horse with higher than par pace figureIn this example, we notice a weaker and much more competitive field when we look at total points (PT). Top five selections are very close and the top pace figure is in the fifth position. This horse has a 80 pace figure which is well above the 74 pace par but since the horse has such a low class rating and there is another horse with a pace figure of 78 in this race, we play the top pick in both first and second holes of the exotics.

Too many contendersIn this example, the top three are well above the par but too close to each other in pace and total points. The third horse has the better pace numbers and better class figures but the lower total points. In a way, this horse could be singled but the numbers are just too close to be singled comfortably. Our suggestion would be to play all three in horizontal plays.

Now let's move on to maiden special weight races. In these type of races, our top factor becomes the class figure and next is the pace numbers. Our class figures are a combination of factors and not just where the horse ran and how much money the horse has earned. This figure is very strong in maiden special races.

Too close in maiden special weightsIn this race, the top three have superior class ratings compared to the rest of the field with top pick having the highest class. Looking at the pace figures confirm this horse as the strong top key in this race and is played in both horizontal and vertical plays.

Not a clear choice in maiden special weightsIn this race, the top two are clearly better than the rest in class ranking but too close to each other in class and pace figures to be easily seperated. We play both in horizontal plays.

Wide open race in maiden special raceIn this race, The 1st and 6th choice have the best class ratings but third, forth and fifth are not too far off the high of 95. We could play this race in different ways.

Top choice has one of the best class and almost the best in pace, and could be played in first and second holes or we could play the top two class ratings in horizontal plays.

 Figure handicapping drawbacks