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Huge events like the Kentucky Derby can be difficult to navigate.
There are so many people betting, so many different races and so much money to be earnt with a winning eager.
Many punters feel more confidant sticking to the smaller races.
However, you must remember that there is more handicapping information available about the bigger events.
Here is our advice to navigate the major horse racing events.
The great thing about the major races is that these are global events.
This automatically increases the amount of handicapping information about them.
Here is the good news: there are countless media platforms which will give you valuable advice.
However, you must be selective, sometimes too much information can drown out the most credible resources.
Although it may seem like they have a vested interest in you losing, they are actually morally obliged to provide you with good handicapping tips.
Betting platforms are highly regulated and tend to hire industry experts to write their handicapping content.
If in doubt, here is a list of betting platforms which we are willing to vouch for: If in doubt, here is a list of betting platforms which we are willing to vouch for:
Newspaper and Magazines
As recently covered in our article on the best US racing newspapers, the Daily Racing Form is particular good for Handicapping Tips.
There are also a large number of dedicated publications which will cover the major events at length.
This is because you can opt to pay extra for specialized packs on the major horse racing events.
These detailed PDFs will give you privileged handicapping tips which will allow you to place more educated bets.
Other trustworthy publications and blogs include:
- America’s Turf
- Track Magazine
- Hoof Beats Online (specialized in Harness racing)
- Horse Racing Nation
- Horse Racing Nation
The specifics of each race
Knowing the basics about the background of each race is essential to place your wager.
If you don’t have time to peruse The Daily Racing Form in preparation, at least memorize these facts:
The US Triple Crown
The Preakness Stakes: Flat thoroughbred horse race, it is run over a distance of 9.5 furlongs on a dirt track.
The Belmont Stakes: Flat thoroughbred horse race, run over 12 furlongs 2.4km on a dirt track, it is open to 3 year old.
These 3 races are part of the same series so predictably, the conditions of each race is very similar.
However, the races get progressively longer and in practice, very few horses have won all three.
Those who have, have gone down in history, which goes to show how rare this is.
It is more likely that a horse who specializes in longer distances would win the Belmont Stakes but fall slightly short at the Preakness Stakes.
Reading the past performances and knowing precisely what type of race you are betting on can help you identify the winning horse.
Major Filly Races
Here are some basic facts about the main races throughout the racing season.
Acorn Stakes: Filly Thoroughbred Flat race, run over 8 furlongs or 1 mile on dirt
Coaching Club American Oaks: Filly Thoroughbred Flat race, run over 9 furlongs or 1 1/8 miles on dirt
The Alabama Stakes: Filly Thoroughbred Flat race, run over 10 furlongs
As with the Triple Crown, these 3 stages of the US Triple Tiara get progressively longer.
Major Steeple Chase Races (or hurdle)
Queens Cups Steeple Chase: Thoroughbred hurdle race, run over turf (a.k.a grass)
Iroquois Steeple Chase: Thoroughbred hurdle race, run over 3km on turf
Although Steeple Chase races can seem like a leap in the dark, the good thing is that it’s a league of its own.
In most cases hurdle horses will not complete in flat races, this because they are usually taller, stronger and have different training.
Although these horses are older and often have experience on flat terrain, it is unlikely they will compete in both types of horse racing.
The Jockeys are also trained specifically for this type of race and often come over from Europe.
The other important thing to remember is that the fences are standardized and highly regulated.
For this reason there is perhaps less margin for irregular performances than on a dirt track.
However, if you are betting on a Steeple chase event remember to do a bit of research.
To find out more about hurdle horse racing, check out this piece on the Queen’s Cup website
Attend them or watch them
There is no better way to beat the odds at the major races than by actually watching the whole day.
You will start notice patterns that statistics and odds can’t convey.
Its important to go with your gut on some things.
The horse’s behavior on the day is very important.
Many bettors simply place a wager without watching the races.
This is an easy thing to do when you are placing a quick bet on your mobile before work.
However, if you are committed to winning, take the time to watch the races..
Don’t miss a major event, check out our racing calendar..