Pace Handicapping

It is undeniable that one of the most important factors that gamblers need to take into account when trying to pick a winner of the race is the pace of the horses involved. Of course, the importance of pace largely depends on the type of race that you’re betting with, as stamina will pace will play a pivotal role in the longer distances.


Meanwhile, for races that involve hurdles or fences, then jumping ability will also play a significant role in the winner of the race. However, for the most part, the pace is the biggest contributing factor that plays a part when finding a winner in each of the Triple Crown events in the United States.


Why Is Pace Handicapping Important?


Studying times of past runs for horses involved in races is essential reading and for an easy reason. This form is the best way to determine a winner of a race, as you can compare the times that the runners have won in the past. 


In essence, you will be selecting a horse that has run the quickest time over the trip in the past. However, understanding the stages of the race where the horses are at their quickest could be the most important factor of all.


Pace handicapping helps gamblers to understand the pace that horses will travel at early while also getting an insight into the runners that will reach their peak later in the race. Both factors are important to consider when betting on races such as the Kentucky Derby because of the dirt surface.


Typically races on dirt take place on conditions that are fast, which means that the hard surface will enable horses to reach their quickest speed earlier in the race before they slow down in the final stages of the contest.


Different Pace Styles


To understand pace handicapping, there are three main types that gamblers must be aware of. The three different types are:


  • Type-E

  • Type-P

  • Type-S


Each of the different types means something different, and it is important to understand all of them before betting on any of the Triple Crown events. Type-E is the horses that reach their quickest speed early in the race, which often leaves many of the other horses in the races trailing behind. 


The fast start often sees these horses reach the front, and therefore set the pace of the race. However, Type-E horses slow down as the race progresses, which means that it is just a question of whether they have enough gas in the tank when you get down to the final stages of the race.


Type-E are the front-runners in the race, while the other two types are the horses that sit in behind and wait for their opportunity. Type-P horses are typically popular picks with gamblers, as they have enough pace to keep tabs on the Type-E horses but have the potential to have more pace in the closing stages. Jockeys have an increased impact on these horses, as they must determine when the best time to strike is.


The final type is Type-S. These are the horses that reach their quickest speed in the closing stages of the race and overtake the remainder of the field close to the line. 


Gamblers betting on these types of horses shouldn’t be too worried if they are a couple of lengths behind the leaders in the early stages, as they will improve as the race goes on. Their peak speed will come in the final couple of furlongs of the race, which typically makes for impressive viewing when they overtake the field on the line.


How To Determine The Pace Of A Horse?


The easiest way to determine the type of horse that you’re looking at is to study the form book extensively. Here, you should look at the position of the horse throughout the race and how many lengths in front or behind the leader they are. The Type-E horses will be easy enough to find as they will likely be first or second in the race.


Meanwhile, if a horse is back in third, fourth, or fifth and up to three lengths behind the leader, then that would be a Type-P horse. Horses that are more than three lengths off the lead will be Type-S horses. Racing styles don’t tend to change too drastically, but it is important to study a couple of races just to be sure.


How Can Pace Handicapping Help Find A Winner?


One of the reasons why pace handicapping can be very important knowledge for gamblers is due to track bias. This is where certain tracks see certain styles have a distinct advantage.


For example, some tracks may see horses that prefer to stalk behind the leaders given an advantage due to a quicker surface in the final stages. However, one fact to remember is that 30-40% of races in the USA on dirt are won wire-to-wire, which means that they favor Type-E horses. You can find some of the track bias examples below:


  • Churchill Downs- Type-E

  • Gulfstream Park- Type-E

  • Turf Paradise- Type-E

  • Woodbine- Type-P


However, it is always important to carry out extensive research before making a wager on races, as there are always other factors that can play a part in the race.


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