Draw Stats Sometimes Overlooked
Another factor to keep in mind when handicapping are draw stats (post position). If a horse is well drawn in a race it can contribute greatly to the outcome.
Normally the betting number is the same as the post position a horse breaks from in the starting gate but that is not always the case. When there is an entry the 1 or 1a horse often breaks from a different post position as the posts are drawn first, then the betting numbers are assigned.
It is always a good idea to keep an eye on which post positions are doing the best at your particular circuit. In general route races usually favor the inside draws as the run into the first turn is shorter and the inside horses are often able to gain position easier into the first turn.
In sprint races the outside post draws are usually the most favorable. Especially if a horse has early foot. I really like a speed horse with an outside draw as they are more likely to steer clear of trouble and get a nice spot going into the turn.
Some of the tracks websites offer draw stats online now which I find to be really helpful when handicapping races. The NYRA website for instance http://www.nyra.com will give you all the current post position stats for Belmont, Aqueduct and Saratoga.
Another angle I like is a horse that is a true closer (void of early speed) who was drawn in an outside post. Who now draws into an inside post. These horses have a much easier time of gaining early position from an inside draw and thus allow for a more effective late run in general.
It has also been said for quite awhile that young horses (particularly 1st time starters) do not like to be drawn on the rail. Young horses in general do not like to be in close quarters when racing as they are often inexperienced and will shy away from other runners.
So as you can see a good draw can often affect the outcome of a race. Look for trends in sprint and route races at the tracks you are following. I always tend to bet a bit more if the horse that I like is well drawn.
By Kerry Zangara