Greyhound Handicapping: Put It In Print

Profile Picture: Eb Netr

Eb Netr

May 15th, 2013

How the heck did we handicap before computers gave us free programs that we can download way before the races? I remember how different it was when I first started playing the dogs at Lincoln Greyhound Park in RI many years ago. If I didn't get the next day's program at the track, I'd have to get it at a little variety store near my house, and I never knew when it would arrive. So, I'd buy a paper and park outside the store, watching for the guy who dropped off the programs. They were supposed to get there around 9, but sometimes it would be much later than that.

Or I'd drive to the track, go in as soon as it opened, which was about a half hour before the races, and try to handicap the races before the first race went off. I was always playing catch-up when I did this and it rarely worked out very well.

Back in the day, the only way I'd know about dogs that were likely to be worth a bet was to talk to the trainers and owners. Now, I can pull down the video menu on Bet America and watch replays of races I missed, or ones I want to watch again. It really helps me see what happened to the dogs I play and also gives me a good idea of their running style for future reference.

Now, I download my programs on Bet America in the morning and have plenty of time to handicap as many tracks as I want to. I also go to the track web sites, once a week, and download the statistics that they offer. More than that, I print them out and refer to them when I'm handicapping.

One of the things I like about some of the track's kennel stats is that they give them for the last 100 races or so. Palm Beach has them for the last 135 races. Southland has them for the last 99. Sanford Orlando gives kennel stats for the last 105 races. This gives me a good picture of how a kennel has been doing lately.

How do I use this information? Well, I don't just bet the top kennels, although I do keep an eye on them. One thing I look for is a kennel that has more than 20% for wins. If that's much higher than the next best kennel for wins, it's even better. For instance, at Sanford Orlando, RSB Kennel had 20 wins out of 88 races which gives them a win percentage of 22%. The next kennel down for win percentage has 17% - 5 points lower.

Another thing I look for, that RSB kennel almost has, is ITM or In The Money percentage. I look for kennels that have more than 50%. RSB has 47%, which isn't shabby at all. Neither is the 48% for ITM that DGW kennel has there. What this tells me is that, if you play exotics at Sanford Orlando, you'd better give RSB's and DGW's dogs a very close look, especially when they have good post position and the race makeup suits their running style.

Whether you're placing win bets or exotics, at Southland, you really need to handicap Charter dogs carefully. The kennel has 23% for wins and 59% for ITM. They have the highest ITM percentage of any kennel at any of the tracks that post statistics, at the moment. They have four points more than T&T Kennel at 55% for ITM and nine more points than Steve M Sarras kennel at 50% for ITM.

At Palm Beach Kennel Club, Rader kennel has 50% for ITM, six points ahead of the next kennel down for In The Money percentage. I don't think it's a coincidence that both Charter at Southland and Rader at Palm Beach have some very good puppies entering and exiting M races, almost all the time.

Statistics don't tell the whole story when it comes to handicapping greyhounds. But the wise handicapper doesn't ignore them either. Kennels whose trainers can get dogs to run in the money more than half the time also generally have the fastest dogs at the track, and the ones that will do well in stakes races.

If you're like me and don't have a perfect memory, print out the statistics and look at them before you handicap a track, just to refresh your memory. Look at the post position stats and the average and fastest times for each grade too, if the track gives that information. Dig a little deeper than most people do and you'll be rewarded for your extra effort by cashing more winning tickets.