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Review: Pedigree Handicapping

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


Pedigree Handicapping

Pedigree Handicapping by Lauren Stich

DRF Press

The Bottom Line

Handicapping a horse race on pedigree is for many the final frontier. Novices are more likely to use speed figures or race record in their selection process and only use pedigree when the media brings it to the forefront, like at the Kentucky Derby. In fact, pedigree can be a very powerful tool all season long. In her new book, DRF pedigree expert Lauren Stich demystifies the science of pedigree handicapping in a compact, easy to understand work.
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  • Very easy to understand introduction to pedigree handicapping
  • Useful lists of freshman and turf sires, can put the book to use right away
  • Excellent reference for novice and veteran handicappers alike


  • Like many handicapping books, examples appear to redboard


  • First time starters and maiden races
  • Which of the 2004 and 2005 freshman sires are likely to produce winners
  • Hidden turf angle - sires whose offspring you would not expect to do well on the turf
  • Using pedigree techniques to handicap the Kentucky Derby
  • Handicapping the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies
  • Pedigree handicapping put into use in handicapping contests

Guide Review - Review: Pedigree Handicapping

When handicapping a race, traditional methods are a numbers game, with such tools as speed figures (Beyer or sheets), finish position, race record, earnings, fractional times, or final times. Lauren Stich attempts to shake novice handicappers out of this mold and into her system where names and not numbers are the key. Early in her book, "Pedigree Handicapping" , she uses numerous examples of where the pedigree pointed her at a logical longshot winner. Maiden races with many first time starters and turf races with several first time grass runners are the best examples of where pedigree must be considered, given the lack of relevant past performance data. It is most important to note that class comes from the female line while distance and surface come from the male line. Stich reveals a very important list of sires which the handicapper can refer to over the next few years, first covering freshman sires and then the turf sires. Many times a sire never raced on the grass himself, but his pedigree indicates his offspring should flourish on it. Finally, Stich shows the reader three situations where pedigree really pays off, namely the Kentucky Derby, the Breeders' Cup, and handicapping tournaments. In these events longshots are the main aim of the bettor, and pedigree knowledge may be the edge over the numbers bettors you will need to cash in at these events. Clearly this is an excellent work that belongs on every bettor's bookshelf.
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