Horse Racing Selections and Handicapping Reports

In this article we cover turf races. Most people do not have as much success in turf races as they do in other surfaces. This is mostly due to the fact that most dirt fundamental concepts do not apply to turf races. In some ways, dirt and turf races are completly opposite of each other. Because of this, most players have a hard time returning a profit in turf races when they do fine in dirt races. Let's look at some of the main differences of the two.

Most dirt races are fast early and slow to moderate late. Turf races are exact opposite.
Late runners win less than their share of dirt races. Front runners win less than their share of turf races.
Jockey's have little to do with the outcome of the dirt races during the first part of the race. In turf races, a good jockey is essential to having the horse in a favorable position for when the real racing begins.

Turf surface is a demanding surface on horses' energy reserves and because of this, most turf races are ran slow early saving the horse's energy and have an all out run down the stretch. This pattern holds true for almost all distances on the turf.

Another fact about turf races is that not very many lower level races are ran on the turf making class a very important factor in the turf races, even more important than in dirt races.

Let's review. Late pace is essential, class is essential, speed, total pace and a smart jockey are very important for a successful turf race. Another factor that make a differnce in turf races but is not an essential factor is the turn speed. This is due to the fact that most turf courses are inside the dirt oval making their turn much sharper than the dirt tracks. Because of this, the horses that show better turn speed, have more power to handle the sharp turns and will have much better chance of securing a favorable running position for when the real racing starts down the stretch. We also always look at horse's turf record, horse's turf starts (HTS) and horse's turf in the money (HTI).
Here is the list of these factors according to importance: LP-CLS-SPD-HTS/HTI-J-TSP.

In first time or second time turf trys, turf breeding becomes the main deciding factor. But this usually happen when most of the field either are first time starters or first time on the turf and that makes it a pass race for us.

Now that we have covered the main factors in turf races, let's look at a few examples.

late pace in turf racesThis is a one mle race. First we look at the late pace figures (LP). The top three are stand outs in the field. Between the three, the third choice does not have the class figure comparable to the other two to be a key pick in this race. Comparing the other factors of the top two shows that these horses are almost identical. Turn speeds are the same, classes are equal and one has a 10% jockey compared to an 8% jockey on the other. The top two are played in horizontal plays.

Note: it's worth mentioning here that when comparing jockeys in a turf race, our jockey win percentages are for that specific surface so you do not have to guess if a jockey is a successful turf rider if you only had an overall record for the jockey. So when looking at our reports, the jockey win percentage (J) of a jockey may show a 12% in a dirt race and an 18% on the turf in the next race.

Turf SprintsIn this race a 5 furlong allowance, First and the third pick are top contenders but the class figure of the third choice make it our clear top key selection. It has a superior late pace and class. A good speed figure indicating a top contender from the start and not just in the late part of the race. Easily played as a top key.

turf too closeHere is a full field of G3 stakes at one and half miles. Most of the field have astrong or great late pace figures. among these only three of them have the speed figures indicating a serious contender throughout the race. Among these three, one has a superior class rating to make this horse a top key horse. But, the only drawback is that the horse is a first time on the turf horse. For this reason we play the three with top late pace and speed figures in a horizontal play.

An important note:
Turf races are often taken off the turf due to the weather. In our reports, pace lines, speed figures, track biases are selected and calculted assuming that the race will run on the turf. A race taken off the turf usually has a few scratches that effect the pace shape even more than the surface change. This makes speed and pace figures very unreliable and they should not be used to select our key contenders. Fortunately, our reports provide more than enough information to handicap most races effectively.

 Figure handicapping drawbacks