Horse Racing can be difficult to get started in for the novice learning about form, track conditions and which jockey is doing well at the moment. For those of you looking to get a leg up here is list of ten of the best books to help you improve your knowledge of horse racing. This list is totally subjective and opinion of the best books will differ. I invite you to post any other books that you might feel are beneficial to the other members.
1. Handicapping 101: A Horse Racing Primer, Brad Free (2007)
Winning at the races doesn’t mean you need an advanced IQ, but only that you have a basic knowledge of racing mechanics–this book teaches you that. Free’s basics of handicapping are easy for a beginner to understand as well as being a refresher for the veteran horseplayer. This book explains how a horse’s individual characteristics such as health, habits, and degree of ability all come into effect when deciding whether or not to bet on that horse. A horseplayer who learns how to recognize and use the characteristics of the horse can then realizethat winning bets are in his or her future. This primer gives practical ways to pick winners and avoid losers.
2. Betting On Horse Racing, Richard Eng (2005)
Want to be able to go to the racetrack with a group of friends and feel like you know what you’re doing? Want to be able to place smarter bets that increase your chance of going home with dollars in your pocket? Reading this book answers those questions for you. With more than 20 years’ experience in the horse racing industry, Eng focused this book on learning how to bet and how to increase your odds of winning. He doesn’t specifically go too in-depth into handicapping skills. This book teaches you how to read the race forms, which serious bettors use to increase their odds of winning. There is an excellent glossary at the end where the author explains all industry terminology so that you can understand every word he uses to describe the horse racing experience.
3. The Complete Handicapper, James Quinn (2013)
This book can help the beginning horseplayer as well as the experienced handicapper. It has been said that it is required reading for anyone who is serious about placing more winning than losing bets. James Quinn has over 40 years of experience in the horse racing industry and has set out the most important basic handicapping skills he’s learned through those years as well as the new ideas he’s learned in this 21st centuryof thoroughbred racing, all in this one book.
4. How To Turn Any Racetrack Into Your Own Money Machine (And Be Just One of the 2% That Do), Greg Boomer Wry (2005)
The world of horse-race handicapping can be very exciting, and this book helps to open it up to you. It is designed to teach you all there is to know about handicapping horse races, from learning solid betting strategies, to successfully managing your money so you have better chances to succeed. Through it, you will learn skills to last a lifetime. This inclusive book uses very understandable terms which are defined and explained, at times by giving examples. You will learn how to analyze a race by reading and understanding The Daily Racing Form and grading each horse to determine whether or not to bet on the race.
5. Bet With The Best: Expert Strategies From America’s Leading Handicappers, DFR Press (2001)
At the time it was published, it was the most comprehensive book on handicapping thoroughbred horse races to be published in over a decade.With nine different chapters written by nine different authors on nine different topics of the horse racing world, this book will appeal to beginners as well as expert handicappers. Example chapters are Beyer on Simulcasting, Quinn on Class, and Brohamar on Pace. If you don’t want to purchase 9 separate books on these 9 separate topics, then this book will be a good place to start to begin learning about each of them.
6. Betting Thoroughbreds for the 21st Century: A Professional Guide For the Horseplayers, Steven Davidowitz (2009)
This book is the revised and updated third edition to the author’s classic “Betting Thoroughbreds”, first published over three decades ago. The book is so popular and has such dedicated followers among both new racing fans and veteran players, that it has been the horse racing industry standard for handicapping for decades.This newly revised edition explains recent industry changes, such as synthetic surfaces, ‘super trainers’, wagering syndicates, computer software programs, and more. Have you ever looked at the past performance of a horse and wondered what it was doing in the race today? This book will answer that question as well as countless others. Diverse topics such as track bias to trainer intent are among those covered. This industry-standard handicapping book will become a favorite read for beginning horseplayers as well as a welcome refresher for experienced horseplayers.
7.The Best of Thoroughbred Handicapping: Advice on Handicapping, James Quinn (1987).
Quinn’s book contains 48 essays by some of the most knowledgeable thoroughbred handicappers, including Tom Ainslie, Andrew Beyer, William Quirin, and himself. Individual essays explainthat author’s system and give examples of how each works. Some of the systems are too complex to condense into one chapter, and the essays difficult to follow. But generally, the essays stimulate the horseplayer’s appetite to read the original books which are listed in an annotated bibliography. Topics ranging from betting strategy to pace handicapping to visual analysis of the horses in the paddock make this encompassing collection of writings useful to every type of handicapper. If you are looking for a well-rounded book on handicapping methodologies, this may be the one.
8. Exotic Betting: How To Make The Multihorse, Multirace Bets And Win Racing’s Bigger Payoffs, Steve Crist (2006)
“Handicapping a race is only half the battle, betting is the other”. Crist’s strategy teaches the horseplayer to make the most money by betting on numerous exotic bets, including the daily double, exacta, trifecta, quinella, superfecta, pick 3, 4, and 6. Crist says this book is not about picking winners at the trackbut teaches that how to bet is as important as who you like–especially in the 21st-century world of horse racing where new ways to bet such as the superfecta and pick four have surpassed the routine win, place, and show betting of days’ past. Both serious and casual horseplayers will benefit from understanding the strategies and mechanics of making these exotic bets.
9. Modern Pace Handicapping, Tom Brohamer (2000).
“Pace makes the race” is one of the oldest sayings you will hear at a racetrack, and this book is the go-to book on pace handicapping. For beginners, reading about running style will give insight into how the race will be run and which horses will benefit from the likely pace scenario. For experts, the Sartin Methodologychapter sets out a new method of analyzing the pace of a race. The author used the Sartin Methodologyto develop his own technique for handicapping horse races. He looked at running styles, turn times, track variants, energy distribution, and par times in predicting race strategy and outcome. Daily Racing Form charts are placed throughout the book.
10. Ainslie’s Complete Guide to Thoroughbred Racing, Tom Ainslie (1988)
This third edition is referred to as the “most complete, comprehensive and reliable guide to handicapping and understanding thoroughbred racing”. Even though some of its ideas may sound outdated by today’s racing standards, countless generations of people cut their teeth on the basic handicapping skills Ainslie teaches–skills necessary to help you become ‘expert handicappers’ and to be able to consistently pick winners at the track. Some of the basics the author covers are class, distance, form, speed, track conditions, jockeys and trainers, and breeding.
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