Tuesday, 27 February 2018 17:51

Understanding The Troubled Trip

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February 27, 2018

Understanding The Troubled Trip

By: Jonathan Stettin


Many of us watch a lot of races over the course of a week. The normal tendency is to watch either the horse you bet on or the leader. We also tend to watch a horse making a move or one the track announcer brings to our attention. When looking for troubled trips you must train yourself to watch all the horses in the race and see things that might not be the focal point of most other spectators. Sure, the running lines will identify some troubled trips for you, but those are the ones everyone will know about. To gain an advantage it helps to see some that are for your eyes only.

There are many different types of troubled trips. Some result from bad racing luck, post position, poor rider decisions, pace, and all sorts of other intangibles. Sometimes something can happen right in front of a horse that causes them to check and lose either ground, momentum or both. The troubled trips identified in past performances usually result in underlays so it is important to understand not all troubled trips are automatically a play back and actually some may offer better value betting against.

In my opinion a troubled trip is one that prevented a horse from running better than they would have sans the trouble. It maybe they checked, were blocked, were hemmed in by a rider or horse, went wide or were carried wide, lost ground or momentum, or were on the worst part of the track. Sometimes they can be prevented and sometimes they can’t. A horse can also have trouble that may not have been enough to have an impact on how they ran. Experience will show you the difference over time. There is no shortcut.

When a horse returns from a troubled trip you have to handicap the race they are running back in using the troubled trip to help you gauge how the horse would have run without the trouble. Then you will need to look at the new race as if the horse ran as you envision they would have. You must look at the conditions and class as well as the pace in the new race. Just because we upgrade a horse because of trouble in their last start, doesn’t mean we like that horse in this field and under these circumstances today.

Along those very same lines there will be times you see a horse get blocked, steadied or trapped and know they would have won that day and should win the race they are in today. Personally, I love when that happens especially if it is a horse I spotted whose trouble does not appear in the past performances. I try and share this type of information and how to spot it for yourself through my Tracking Trips service. You can learn more about that here or on the link above. https://www.pastthewire.com/tracking-trips-info/

When handicapping a race and you see a horse coming off a troubled trip, or even one that ran with or against a true bias, I would suggest handicapping the race as if you didn’t know that first. Once done, I would then factor in what you know and upgrade or downgrade the horse accordingly. Betting a horse off a troubled trip can be one of the best bets at the track, knowing which ones to bet and which ones to pass is key.

In the end it comes down to doing your homework and learning how to use the troubled trip as a tool to help you bet or bet against. If a horse off a troubled trip, that should win, takes more money than normal because of the trouble, a lot of people will bet against claiming there is no value in that horse. I don’t believe that. I believe there is no value betting a loser or horse you don’t like to win because of the price. The Sport of Kings offers many wagering opportunities that allow us to create value in most circumstances.