Becoming a successful horse player does not happen overnight and the learning process never ends. I was introduced to the sport of thoroughbred horse racing by my father and learned how to handicap using his methods.
After a few years of recreational handicapping with occasional success I decided to take my new found weekend hobby more serious. The goal was to find out if long term profits were possible.
To do this I began reading all the horse racing books on betting strategies and handicapping I could get my hands on. As you can see from the picture of my bookshelf above I have amassed a decent size collection.
The results have been positive. In the last four years my betting ledger is in the black with two very positive years and two years with minor losses.
My handicapping has improved dramatically after reading all of the books you see above. I would recommend reading every book on horse racing betting strategies and handicapping you can get your hands on but reading 40+ books is probably not feasible for most people.
After sifting through my collection I came up with a group of books I recommend that anyone wanting to become a serious horseplayer should read. In no particular order here are six that I would highly recommend.
#1 – Exotic Betting by Steve Crist: Handicapping the races is only half the battle, betting them is the other. In Exotic Betting Steve Crist outlines the strategy he uses for playing each type of exotic bet, from Exacta’s to the Pick 6 and every wager in between. The multi-ticket A-B-C method of playing the Pick 4 and Pick 6 alone are worth the read and have been an integral part in increasing my profits at the racetrack.
#2 – Money Secrets at the Racetrack by Barry Meadow: Money management is a weakness of many horseplayers and can often be the difference between a winning and losing horseplayer. Money Secrets at the Racetrack is far and away the best guide to proper money management and optimal value betting strategy.
#3 – Modern Pace Handicapping by Tom Brohamer: Pace makes the race is one of the oldest sayings you will hear at a racetrack and Modern Pace Handicapping is the definitive book on Pace Handicapping. For beginners the chapter on running style will provide insight into how the race will be run and which horses will benefit from the likely pace scenario. For experts the chapters on the Sartin Methodology will provide a never before seen method of analyzing the pace scenario of a race. I have read this book a half a dozen times and would rank it at the top of my list of most influential books on handicapping a horse race.
#4 – The Handicapper’s Condition Book by James Quinn: Class is an often hard to describe factor in horse racing. A horse that wins a Maiden Special Weight may be able to step up and win an Allowance race or may need to drop into a Claiming race. In The Handicapper’s Condition Book the winning profile for each Class level is laid out for the reader and the chore of separating contenders from non-contenders is made drastically easier.
#5 – Betting Thoroughbreds for the 21st Century by Steve Davidowitz: Ever look at the past performance of a horse and wonder what is this horse doing in this race today? In Betting Thoroughbreds for the 21st Century the answer to that question and many more will be answered. This book covers a diverse set of topics from track bias to trainer intent and is a must read for beginning horseplayers and a welcome refresher for experienced horseplayers.
#6 – The Best of Thoroughbred Handicapping by James Quinn: Over 40 handicapping ideas/methods are presented in this anthology of horse racing. From betting strategy to pace handicapping to visual analysis of the horses in the paddock this diverse collection of writings is useful to every type of handicapper. If you are looking for a well rounded book on handicapping methodologies you will not find one better then The Best of Thoroughbred Handicapping.
Each of these horse racing books is available through the links provided above via Amazon.com. Please note that if you decide to purchase one or more of these books through the links provided above I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.