How do we differentiate ourselves from thoroughbred bettors? What are the pros and cons of being a harness bettor?
In a recent article at R2 about "positioning racing", it was surmised that betting racing is akin to a game. I think most readers, since we are bettors and take the game kind of seriously, feel that way. But I wonder, since the article is of a broad nature - what makes us harness bettors, and what can make other bettors harness bettors?
I think some of the differences in betting harness versus thoroughbreds are the following.
- Favorite win percentage: We can churn more in harness, so if you are someone who likes to cash, pick winners and grind your way that way, it is a good sport for you to play. A 14 horse field of maidens in the thoroughbreds is a head-scratcher.
- Week to week form: In thoroughbreds horses may race six or seven times a year. For a hard-hitting claimer or conditioned horse in harness racing that number may be 35 or 40. You can follow a horse, get to know him, and use that knowledge to make some money.
- Warm ups, driver/trainer intent: There is, and always has been a solid edge for on-track players in harness. I was at the track not long ago and watched a horse warm up lame. He scored out lame, too .......... and he was 4-5 on the board. You might bet him, or use him in horizontals if you were at home. At the track he was an auto-pitch.
- Using numbers: Talk to a harness player about speed figs, or pace figs and 99% of them will look at you like you are from Mars. Pen and paper handicapping in harness rules. In thoroughbreds it is common-place. There is an edge for those who broaden their mind and use numbers.
- Post position and trip/pace handicapping: Picking a paceline in thoroughbred racing I think is akin to having a crystal ball. In harness racing if you see three speed horses, two have a decent leaving post, one driver scores out, and one of them is taking no money, you have a paceline scenario that will probably be accurate. Speed wins harness races. A 6-1 shot who has the pocket, or the lead in soft fractions is not a 6-1 shot anymore; he is more likely 5-2 or lower. Sharp handicappers who can figure this out will be extremely successful.
There are many, many others I am sure, and that is where you come in. I would like to write an article/study on the typical 2010 harness bettor, and use that to look at new markets (those who have never played harness before who might).
If you are a harness bettor what attracts you to the game? If you are a thoroughbred punter, what keeps you from playing harness? If you could think of one thing only which differentiates us from the thoroughbred bettor, what would it be?
I'd love to hear some answers and opinions, so accept my thanks in advance if you offer to comment!