For years and years the Daily Racing Form or DRF, has been the bible for horse players all over America. But since the advent of the Internet there have been a bevy of new kids in town.
In my opinion the next best form would be Brisnet. They have very detailed facts, figures and ratings. I do like the way they break down the races into very small details, but I’m on the fence with a few of their figures. Particularly their speed figures and distance ratings.
For my money Beyer speed ratings, while not 100% accurate, are superior to those found on Brisnet. For example last week I was handicapping a race at Pimlico and there was a horse I found to be a qualifier in the race. (I was using both publications to handicap that day.)
In the horse’s most recent race he’d finished a good second in a small stakes race. Brisnet had given him a 100 speed rating for that race. In the race he was to run in the par they gave the race was 94. Par means what type of speed normally wins this type of race, or how fast the horse will need to go most likely to win.
So according to Brisnet I needed to give this horse a longer look. However when I flipped to the DRF they gave the horse a 75 Beyer, now as a qualifier among the rest of the field, that was quite low. What to do?
Well I had to dig in and get the real race fractions and figure it out myself. Now why pay for two publications if I have to end up doing it myself?
In this case the DRF was right on the money, the horse in question never even got involved in the race and finished in the back of the pack. Thankfully I’d come to the same conclusion and tossed him out of my wagering combinations.
So what did I decide? DRF or Brisnet? Well neither. If I had to pick one, I’d pick the DRF only because I’m so familiar with its format. But if I could, I’d use both. I feel DRF has a better handle on speed rating and their Tomlinson ratings (how well a horse may do on a particular surface or distance). But I really like the class ratings, pace rating and selections on Brisnet.
In conclusion I don’t really believe there is a silver bullet publication for handicapping, though all publications would lead you to believe they have the “secret” key. They don’t. The key lies in your ability to decipher the information and create a horse racing system, or systematic approach to the races that you can stick with.
Consistency wins this game. Nothing will work all the time. Some things may work sometimes. And many things will work none of the time. The trick is to knowing what those “things” are.