How to Read a Horse Racing Program

How to Read a Horse Racing Program

The process of picking out a winner could be a lot easier if you would get your hands on essential data such as a horse’s past performance. But such information is usually packed in a horse racing program that, quite frankly, looks intimidating. How do you decipher key details when the program is filled with names, numbers, and abbreviations that make very little sense – so basically how to read a horse racing program ?

Identifying the sections

Although everything seems like it was bundled together in no discernible order, the information can roughly be divided into three sections: Horse and rider, the records and past performance. Let’s look at what each section entails in detail.  Here is a closer look.

Horse and rider

The horse’s name may be the only thing legible enough to stand out in the program. The owner and rider’s names are usually placed alongside it. Other key details in this section will include the age, weight, gender, and color of the horse and its number on the starting gate.

There should either be a picture on the margin or a description of the silks worn by the owners. Each will have their own pattern and colors. This would help you if you wanted to spot the horse on the starting gate right before the race.

The records

Without going into any specifics, these sections provide a general overview of the horse’s performance. The information is represented by a list of dates and numbers. The dates represent the years while the numbers represent the records. There is a record for the current year, the previous year and finally a lifetime record. There are four numbers. The second one represents wins, and that’s where you should keep your eye on.

Past Performances

This section features the horse’s record in past races. It will include the dates of the particular races to help you track the horse’s successes, the type, and condition of the course, the type of race, finish position, the races’ final time, race restrictions, jockey’s name, etc.

Information such as type of race and course time is important since variables in past races need to match those in the present race if your predictions are to be accurate. Race restrictions shouldn’t worry you much unless the horse has just started qualifying for tougher races after turning three.

The racing program can be hard to read and decipher for most people. But with the above information in mind, things can start making a bit more sense, and you can finally make predictions backed by facts. Just avoid overlying on past statistics. They can mess you up especially if you skim the entire thing and miss important details.

Are Racehorses Good Investments?

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We wish we could just plainly say yes.  But we would be lying to you.   Even though the sport of kings is now available for us peasants, there are still some not so positive comebacks to investing in a racehorse.  Some even say that the horseracing business is in decline and that investing in a racehorse is a gamble move that will most probably make you lose money.

Consider that you buy a horse at $10,000 right now, or maybe a piece of a horse.  There are few chances that within a certain time you will be getting a good return on your investment.   Now, not everything is grim.  You must be cunning enough to know how to invest in a racehorse.

Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. How do I become the owner of a horse?  Unless you have some serious money, you will probably do best by joining a group of investors to one horse.  The prizes are then split into equal parts among the shareholders of the horse.  Partnerships are actually a good idea.  In general, most of the racehorse owners get a profit of about $75,000 per year.
  2. Where do I race my horse?  There are different levels of competition and not all horses have the ability to compete for racing’s Triple Crown.  You should start with regional races, where competition is not so fierce.
  3. How do I buy a horse?  You can buy one at auctions, in private sales, or at a claiming race.
  4. Do I have what it takes to care for a horse?  Here’s when the potential of getting profit seems to shake a little bit.  There are a lot of expenses that come with owning a horse.

How to Succeed

The first thing you need to realize is that horseracing is not only a sport, but it is also a business.  This business really knows how to be risky.  You need to be very well informed of the advantages and downfalls.

The best way to avoid your investment to become a dollar pit is to ask advice from experts.  Get close to those who know about horseracing business and get tips from them.

More on Owning a Horse

You need to have an idea of how much will raising a horse cost you.  This will give you a clearer idea of what you are getting yourself into.  Do consider that, on average, a racehorse owner will make an investment of at least $65,000 per year.   Here’s how all that goes:

  • Shoeing.  If you thought your wife spent too much money on shoes, maybe when you see that you will need to invest between $100 and $400 per month on shoes.  This will also depend on the type of shoe that your equine needs.
  • Transportation.  Moving a horse from track to track is very expensive.  Renting services are not in high demand.  Those who have to transport a horse close to home do not spend as much as those that have to be moved nationally.
  • Veterinarian. These are the facts.  Horses get sick, get injured, or overworked.   Veterinarians for horses are not cheap at all.  Besides this, medication for a horse is also very expensive.
  • Jockey.  Jockeys will usually charge from $35 to $100 per race.  If the horse is lucky enough to win, a percent of the prize goes to the jockey.
  • Training Day Rate.   Training a horse requires a professional, which will usually charge from $45 to $200.

Now, here is where you question if you have what it takes to take a risky business.  Will you become a millionaire.  Not very likely but you can make some serious cash if you work hard.  About the millionaire thing, yes it can happen, but stories of success are not very common.  Which one will you be?


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