angle-left Handicapping Tips: Betting Favorites

Handicapping Tips: Betting Favorites

Understanding handicapping, favorites and different types of horse bets will strengthen your betting strategy.

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By Andrea Caudil for Quarter Racing Journal

Handicapping at its most basic is about picking winners: Which horse will win a race? In horse racing terms, the “favorite” is the horse with the most money bet on it to win. This lowers its parimutuel odds. Determine the horse race favorite by finding the horse with the lowest odds. 

While a favorite has popularity, it also often has a low payoff; most often a $3-$6 range for a $2 bet. However, there’s good news for your horse betting strategy: 

  • Favorites win about 40 percent of the time in American Quarter Horse racing. This is a stronger percentage than in Thoroughbred racing, which has about 36 percent winning favorites overall. Still, that means the majority of the time, the favorite won’t win a race. 
  • Race favorites finished in the money (third or better) in 69 percent of their races. 

Many factors affect if a favorite will win:

  • form
  • class
  • race distance
  • post position
  • jockey and more can make a difference. 

If you can’t beat the favorite and don’t want to accept a short win price, join them: That’s why exotic wagers were created. You might still earn big returns if you key the favorite in bets like:

  • exacta
  • trifecta
  • pick-3 
  • or pick-4 

These handicapping tips are provided by AQHA Racing and Or read on for more Quarter Horse racing handicapping information.