Use This First Turn Secret to Win

After a few trips to the dog track, you find yourself, along with all the other bettors, flinching as the dogs head into the first turn. You might even close your eyes, like my friend, Benny does. He doesn't open them again until the dogs are around the next corner and into the backstretch.

The reason the first turn is so anxiety-producing is because of what happens there in so many races. Dogs bump other dogs. Dogs go in toward the rail and cut off other dogs. Dogs go wide and take out several other dogs. It's nerve-wracking.

But a few smart handicappers have learned to take advantage of the first turn situation and you can too. All it takes is a few minutes with the program and some common sense. What you're looking for is the way the race will play out and what effect each dog's running style will have on its first turn performance.

I look at the early speed dogs first. Early speed, of course, is not only which dog gets out of the box first. It's also which dog gets to the first turn ahead of the others. What I'm looking for is a dog that can beat ALL the other dogs to the first turn almost every time it races in the grade it's in today.

Then I look at the other dogs for signs that they'll get into trouble on the turns. If I find that most of them have a similar running style that will conflict on the first turn, I take a really good look at the race. I ask myself if it looks likely that the early speed dog will last to be first over the finish line.

If he isn't a big fader and his class and form look good, I bet him to win and play him in quinielas with other dogs that look like contenders to me. Often, the early speed dog wins at pretty good odds and the quiniela pays well also.

This is especially good when the crowd makes a favorite out of another dog in the race, even though it doesn't have the class that the early speed dog has. Often there'll be a young dog that did well in a lower grade or M race and the crowd decides that it can't lose. Then it flies the first turn or gets hit by another dog on the turn and that's all she wrote.