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The Importance of Watching Replays

The Importance of Watching Replays

The sheer amount of useful handicapping tools can be overwhelming, but just learning the basics can significantly help you become a successful horseplayer. One of the most basic handicapping tools is often one of the most ignored: watching replays. There are several different reasons why watching replays can be beneficial:

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To see how horses have been running

Beginners need to understand that you can learn much more information from watching replays than what you can read on past performances. The trip notes on the side can only tell part of the story; by watching replays, you can piece the whole story together.

Two phrases that you will often hear from experienced handicappers are “bet back” and “fade.” The first one means that you want to bet the horse back in its next start because you believe that its effort was compromised, maybe due to a poor start or a rough-riding rival. The second means that you want to play against a horse, perhaps because you think a strong performance was significantly aided by an easy trip.

They might be easy to remember, but the tricky part is knowing when to do which. By watching replays of the horses running in a specific race, you can better paint a picture of which horse(s) you are going to play (bet back) and which you are going to ignore (fade).

To review what went right and wrong with your handicapping strategy

Like a professional sports team watching film on its opponent, watching replays of races that you previously handicapped can increase your knowledge as a horseplayer. You may have believed that the #3 horse would be the controlling pace and bet the race based on that information. So, were you right?

If not, was it due to something as simple as the #3 horse stumbling out of the gate or getting knocked around by a rival? Or did a different horse show speed that you somehow overlooked when handicapping?

These are examples of questions that you should ask yourself after a race.  Too often, horse players simply forget what happened and move on without looking back at what was successful and what was not.

To understand how a specific track’s surfaces are running

Beginning handicappers will need to understand common desciptors for tracks, such as “golden rail” or “dead rail.” To become a more knowledge horseplayer, you will need to learn how to spot these for yourself, and one way to do that is by watching replays and taking notes. Eventually, you will be able to see the changes happen right in front of you, which will then give you time to adjust your wagers accordingly throughout a day’s card.

Additionally, looking back at how a track is running based on different weather patters is just as important. Most tracks run differently when they are soft and sloppy, versus when they are firm and fast, so use replays to see how the track runs in different scenarios.

If you look at the weather report and realize that it is going to pour rain the day that you are planning on wagering, but it has not rained at that specific track in over a week, go back to the last day that the track was muddy and watch the replays.

Where to find replays

Some tracks post their race replays on their websites or on YouTube, but not all do. The easiest place to find free replays for all tracks and horses is on your preferred online betting site, such as (and if you don’t have an acccount yet, sign up for free using the promo code DUDES to get a signing bonus).

By watching replays and taking notes, you can become a smarter and more knowledgeable horse player.

Vinny Blond is a New York-based handicapper who is one half of Real Dynasty Picks. Follow him on Twitter @PicksByDynasty.

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