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Jockey Clues to Find the Best Bets in Horse Racing

When you are watching a horse race, do you watch your horse to see how it is doing?  Of course you do.  You might also do some trip handicapping while you’re at it, if you can tear your eyes away from the horse you bet on, that is.  There is something else that you should be doing while watching a race and you can use videos to help you with this.  Watch the jockeys.

Do you know each rider’s riding style at the tracks you bet?  Did you even know that a jockey has a style?  Not only do they have a style or method, as all professional athletes do, but their style tells you a lot about a race and how hard the horse was used and whether it was meant to win.  Let’s be realistic here, in almost every horse race there are runners who are sent postward without the intention of winning.  There can be a lot of reasons for that.

One reason a horse might be put in a race but the jockey is given instructions not to win could be that the connections want to win with the horse in the next race and collect big at the betting windows.  Another reason may be the trainer is using the race to condition the horse and doesn’t want it used too hard.

So how can you tell whether the horse was sent to win or held back?  The horse can’t tell you, but the jockey will, whether he or she wants to or not.  Some are masters at hiding it, they can look like they are trying to win while they are actually holding the horse back, but if you get to know their tricks, you’ll spot it.  If you see a horse who is not being asked to win, that is a horse to follow.

Start by watching the jockeys and learn their style.  It may sound strange, but the first place to look is their butts.  Many jockeys ride high and stand upright in the stirrups and just go easy with a horse until they hit the stretch, at that point, many will get down on the horse and go to work.  Some go very low while others are still quite high in the stirrups.  Get to know the jockey’s style and you will start to notice when they are really trying with a horse.

Don’t just watch the stick hand, either.  Watch the hand that holds the reins.  Is he or she putting on a show with the whip but not really making contact while holding the horse back with the other hand?  Watch them on the turn as well.  One of the best ways to blow a race is by going too wide on the turn.  If you see the rider intentionally go wider than needed in the turn then lose by a few lengths, that horse was meant to lose and the connections know they have a winner next time with a better trip.

I have a few jockeys I watch in the stretch.  If they stand straight up in the irons, but put on a show, I know they are losing on purpose and have more horse than they are showing.  I also watch that horse for its next race and see how it is bet.  When it comes to finding horses who are held back or not sent to win, watch the rider and you’ll soon find some horses that are better than they look on paper, and that is one of the best bets in horse racing.

If you want to learn how a horse owner and insider handicaps just go to and get the truth. Bill Peterson is a former horse race owner and professional handicapper. To see all Bill’s horse racing material go to Horse Racing Handicapping, Bill’s handicapping store.

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