May 6, 2020

Four Steps to Winning on US Horse Racing

Without UK racing taking place, a lot of people have turned to U.S. racing to place their bets. It’s understandable, along with Australia it’s the only place in the world with horse racing taking place.

I started my journey in betting on U.S. race tracks, and if you’re going to bet on them it’s important to know that…

…they behave very differently to the UK!

The conditions are completely different. Generally the races are much shorter. The amount of data available on the horses is much greater. And the primary method of betting is pool betting.

Most importantly, the big teams in the U.S. dominate the pools. They invest millions in market manipulation to get their competitors to bet on the wrong horses.

Those of us placing small bets, comparatively, get caught up in the battles which are raging beyond our sight.

Whilst the basic skills are transferable, profiting from U.S. racing is different to profiting from UK racing.

Which begs the question…?

Should you bet on U.S Racing?

The answer, in my opinion, is going to depend on the reason you want to bet on U.S. racing.

If it’s to place some fun bets on live racing, and have a bit of action while you’re waiting for UK racing to start again… why not.

U.S. racing is definitely good fun, and with the high volume of races taking place, there’s enough action to keep you going all through the night!

But if you want to make a profit from your betting.

If your aim is to be a long-term profitable bettor.

Then you shouldn’t be betting on U.S. racing (except for fun money) unless you intend to continue betting on it into the future.

And the reason is simple… because it’s not the same as UK racing.

That means you need to learn what factors have an edge on the US tracks.

One thing can be guaranteed:

You won’t be able to use your UK strategies and systems over the pond profitably. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.

How to find winners in U.S: Racing

If betting on U.S. racing is something that you want to do then you need to get off the ground running.

To do that, there are a few things you should consider.

Number 1

U.S. races are generally short. They most often run between 5 and 12 furlongs, with a preference towards the shorter races.

This means that speed is incredibly important.

In fact, it’s probably the single most important factor you need to consider to find the winner.

However, there’s a huge amount of data out there, and U.S. race bettors are very savvy with their data usage, far more so than the general bettors in the UK.

Which means that while speed and pace are critical in the search of the winner. You’ll find it very difficult to make a profit using those elements alone.

With that in mind, you can concentrate on the shortest race (which is most), and use speed to find the strongest horses.

Then you need to use some other pieces of information in order to see if you can get an edge on the bet.

The best way to do this is to do something that a lot of the bettors in the U.S. don’t do… read form!

Data is so heavily used, software is so prevalent, and so many people bet statistically, that as lovers of UK racing, we can bring our experience in form reading to the front.

Start by finding the strongest horses from a speed base, and then…

Number 2

Once you’ve got the top two or three strongest horses based on speed, we want to do some form reading to see if the horses can compete.

You don’t want to go into overkill, just focus on three areas:

  1. Distance
  2. Course
  3. Recent Performance

Nothing complex is required.

You’re focusing on the shortest of races, I’d suggest five furlongs and less initially, and in these races only a few factors make a significant impact. The biggest, speed, has already been accounted for, and now we’re covering three of the others.

If you’ve never read form before, don’t worry, anybody can do this!

Check to see if the horse has run over the same distance as today and finished as the winner, or within one and a half lengths of the winner. If it has, put a tick next to its name. If the horse has done it within the last 120 days, put another tick next to its name.

Repeat the same process for the course.

When you’ve done this you’ll have between 0 and 4 ticks for each of your strongest horses.

Then you can move to recent performance…

Any horse that hasn’t raced in a year remove from your contenders list, you don’t want to be risking your money on a horse that hasn’t run.

Should you find that you get stuck into U.S. racing and continue to follow it, there’s a good angle to be had here as all training runs have to be declared in the U.S. That means even if a horse hasn’t run for a long time, you can see how it’s been performing (something I think the UK should adopt). However, it’s a different approach and if there’s interest I can look at writing about it in the future.

You’ll now be left with anything from zero to four horses in the race, assuming you started with the four strongest on speed.

Next to each you’ll have between zero and four ticks, the more ticks a horse has the potentially stronger you can expect it to be.

Number 3

The final consideration is the odds. Personally I don’t like to bet at odds of higher than 29/1. Horses with odds higher than this do win races, but don’t win them with enough frequency for me to want to bet on them.

Remove all horses with odds higher than 29/1 from consideration. Most of the time your horses won’t have odds this high, but go through the process of doing it anyway.

Lastly, consider any horses in the top three of the betting, the three lowest odds, that weren’t in your original contenders.

Repeat the process from consideration #2 for these runners, and you will be left with a clear image of the strongest horses in the race.

Number 4

You don’t have to bet on a single horse to win. You can bet on horses to place. You can do each-way bets, as well as dutch bets and 80/20 bets.

Your bet should be based on how much risk you are prepared to accept, and how many horses you think have a strong chance of winning the race.

An Alternative Option

Instead of risking your money on U.S. racing, there is another option…

At the Race Advisor we have Aldermist race course, our very own virtual race course.

This isn’t the same as a bookmaker race course.

Virtual racing at the bookmakers is effectively a lottery, powered by a random number generator. The horses aren’t real, they have no form, and all you have to do is make a decision on how to bet are the odds.

Aldermist is different…

Every single race is based on historical data. All the horses racing are real horses, with complete form histories, trained by real trainers and ridden by real jockeys, both with full histories.

You can see every single rating in our armoury for every horse in the race. You can use every single tool at Aldermist that you can use on live racing.


…the results are based on each horse’s true chance of winning the race!

In other words, Aldermist races behave exactly like a real race.

Which means you can build and test betting strategies and systems on it, without risking a single penny, safe in the knowledge that if you’re long-term profitable at Aldermist, you’ll be long-term profitable on live racing.

With a race every ten minutes, twenty four hours a day, it’s possible to build and test strategies 344% faster than the real world.

And, because you don’t know the results before the race is run it’s impossible to back fit your strategies.

While there’s no racing, this means you can still enjoy the excitement of racing, whilst improving your strategies, systems and form reading.

Even when there is live racing, there’s never been a better way to practice your betting systems without any risk than doing it at Aldermist.

Challenges, designed to improve your betting, move you from Hobbyist to Pro, and you can get started completely FREE (no credit card required) at

Michael Wilding

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Steve Carter

Steve Carter is the Associate Editor of On Course Profits magazine. He has relied on his betting skills and knowledge for his income for the past 15+ years. He specialises in horse racing and football betting & trading and knows what it takes to make a living from betting. He is always looking for new angles for himself and On Course Profits readers.

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