Greyhound Handicapping: Winning Is Worth Waiting For

Profile Picture: Eb Netr

Eb Netr

February 20th, 2013

I start my day by reading greyhound programs. I look at the tracks that are running and scan the names of the greyhounds in every race. I have a list of greyhounds to watch and if I see a dog that's on it, I handicap that dog in that race. It takes a while, but it's worth it.

How do dogs get on my list? Many are puppies whose litter mates have won in Maiden races. Some are dogs that I've followed since they first schooled. They're dogs that have proven to be in the money enough of the time to make ME money. I follow dogs that aren't superstars, and aren't stakes winners, but that win and place consistently as long as they're in the grade that matches their ability.

And that brings me to another thing that I watch and wait for. There are some dogs that do well only when they're in a certain box. Most of the time, it's either the 1 box or the 8 box. They're dogs that have to have the inside or dogs that have to have the outside. Some of the ones that do well from the 8 box, just really don't like having a dog to their outside. Some of the ones that love the 1 box, only run well when they can hug the rail all the way around the track.

Sometimes, I wait for a dog to come back from a layoff. If I notice that a good dog is going out of form and then don't see it listed in the program for a while, it's a tipoff that it's getting a rest. I make a note to watch for it and when I see it in schooling races, I know that it's probably going to come back and win within a race or two. I also know that it's starting another form cycle and will follow the form that it showed before its break.

Like horses, dogs have a form cycle, although it's shorter. Some of them are ready to win right off a break. Some of them take a race or two to get going. Some steadily improve and move up the grade ladder to where they can stay in the money often enough to stay in that grade. Some trainers are good at getting dogs to win right off a layoff, and I have a list of them too.

Waiting for dogs and situations isn't as much fun as just getting a program and handicapping and playing every race. It can be a tedious and boring business. I'm like anyone else. I don't like to sit on my thumbs while the races go by, waiting for one dog in the tenth race. So, how do I manage to make myself wait and not bet races where I don't have a dog that I have a good reason for playing?

What I do is allow myself a budget for plain old fun at the races. Once or twice a week, whether one of my "watch dogs" are running or not, I go online and play the races at one of my favorite tracks. I DO look at the programs the day before and choose a track where I think I see some good spot plays. But other than that, I just do what most greyhound handicappers do.

I go over the program, find a dog that looks like it has more going for it than the rest of the dogs, and play it to win or in exotics. One of my favorite spot plays is a dog switching from sprints to routes in a post that has good stats. At Palm Beach Kennel Club, the 2 box has a big advantage, with the 1 box next. At Southland, it's the 1, 2 and 3 box in that order.

If a dog in one of these boxes has early speed and is coming out of sprints, and is also at good odds, I play it to win and place and in quinelas with the favorite or another good dog. I've hit a lot of quinielas with this play. I've also had a lot of fun playing spot plays and staying within my betting budget, while I wait for the right dog, in the right box, in the right race.