Handicapping is a process that bettors go through when predicting the results in a horse race based on big data. No matter what your level of expertise is, it is often back to the basics reviewing rudimentary elements of each race.

Basically, every bettor goes through the process of handicapping when analyzing data from previous races, but some go a step further and try to get every variable that might implicate the results of the race.

It is important to mention that everyone handicaps differently and there is no “right” guide for this process. 

However, in today’s article, we will take a look at some of the most important variables you should consider when handicapping a horse race just to get the most accurate prediction possible. So, when you will find the Kentucky Derby handicapping and picks you might understand better how accurate they are.


The horse’s form is one of the most valuable information for handicappers when predicting the outcome of a race. The goal when analyzing the form of each horse in a race is to eliminate the runners that don’t appear to be fit from a condition standpoint.

Handicappers often use the data from previous races, or browsing through their workout routine that might suggest that the horse is fit for the race.

The total wins don’t matter as much as the form. For example, even if we have a racing champion in a race, that hasn’t participated in an official race for a long time, chances are the horse won’t achieve a good result.

The sweet spot is to look for a horse that has actively participated in a big event at least two months before the race.

Horse’s Abilities

The second important factor when handicapping a horse race is analyzing the abilities of the horses. Many things determine the horse’s abilities, but the thing that you should focus on is the horse’s fastest run from previous races.

This should give you a broad idea about the horse’s abilities on their best day. Tracking the horse’s performance from previous races should also give you an idea about its abilities. Professional handicappers go a step further by analyzing the speed of the horses and comparing the results.

So, if a horse had a flawless run at incredible speed, there is a good chance that it might repeat in the next race.


Determining the class of each horse is a system that allows handicappers to evaluate one horse’s ability over another. The class of each horse is determined by looking at their performances over various competition levels. 

The goal here is to eliminate outclassed horses that are not on the same level with other participants.

Pace Scenario

This method is used by handicappers to find out how the race will be run, determining which running style will get the biggest advantage. For example, if the speed of the race and the pace is too fast, mid-pack and come-from-behind horses, closers will enjoy an advantage.

On the other hand, if the pace is slow, front-running horses and stalkers will have the benefit. Determining the pace scenario will help you eliminate all the horses that are disadvantaged.

Race Condition

Race conditions play a really important role when handicapping a horse race. Here handicappers are trying to predict whether or not the surface and the distance of the course play a favor for the participants. 

Even horses that are in good form and have the ability to win the race, can be beaten when entered in unsuitable races. Some horses move faster between sprints and routes, or dirt to the turf while others do not. Analyzing each horse’s previous appearances should give you an idea about which surface and course length the horse is good at. 

Final Words

These are some of the most important factors when handicapping a horse race. Browsing through data and analyzing a horse race is the best way to make a wiser betting decision. As we mentioned before, there are no clear rules on the handicapping process in horse racing betting. Each bettor makes its own rules and ways that will help them predict the outcome of a race.