Harness Handicapping With the Bottom Line
Everyone has their favorite past performance program. Some people like the simpler ones. Others, like me, prefer a program that has more information in it than just the basics. This is why I use the Trackmaster program, the extended version with 12 lines and in depth information that goes beyond what most people know about the horses they're betting on.
One of the items of info that I get from the extended program that I find very helpful is how many times the horse has hit the board at the track it's running at today. If you use the basic program, all you can see is how it's done in its last six races. If they weren't at this track, you don't know if it's ever raced here before. That's not very helpful.
A lot of harness horses race at the fairs and move around from track to track. Some even move from half mile to five-eighths to mile tracks. Horse, like people, have their preferences and can be picky. I think it's the rare horse that can do well at all tracks and all distances.
Right now, for instance, at one of my state's tracks, Bangor Raceway, there are a lot of horses running that have been running at the fairs. On the regular pp's, all six of their last races are fair races. By looking at that program, I have no idea, unless I remember them, whether they've done well at Bangor or not. And that's why I get the extended program and look them up.
There is something important that you'll find on both the regular and extended programs though. That's the information at the bottom of the page. I can't tell you how often it's clued me in to a horse that I wouldn't have played, based on the information in its past lines.
The information at the bottom of the page in the Trackmaster programs includes Highest Win Percentage, Best Last Race Speed Rating, Best Early Speed, Hard Closer, Last Race Beaten Favorite and Best Earnings Per Start. If a horse is mentioned in more than three of those categories, the wise handicapper will take notice and not leave it out of his or her wagers.
Being tops in just one of these categories isn't something that you should use - by itself - when you handicap the race. But there are a couple that do carry more weight than the others, as far as I can see. Best Earnings Per Start often indicates a horse that has more class than the other horses. It's pretty safe to assume that it's been running in pricier races anyway.
Highest Win Percent, especially if it's coupled with Best Speed Rating Last Race, isn't to be taken lightly either. Throw in Early Speed at a half mile track or Hard Closer at a mile track and you have a pretty good contender, as long as it's up to competing at the class level of this race.
As I've said before, it's not a good idea to base your handicapping on just one factor. All of the information on the program is important. If you use the Trackmaster past performances, and haven't been using the information on the bottom of the page, you're only getting part of the handicapping picture. Add this info to your handicapping toolbox and see if the bottom of the page doesn't improve your bottom line.