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Betting Thoroughbreds for the 21st Century by Steve Davidowitz

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Betting Thoroughbreds for the 21st Century

"Betting Thoroughbreds for the 21st Century" by Steve Davidowitz

DRF Press

The Bottom Line

The original "Betting Thoroughbreds", published in 1977, and the second edition in 1995, is one of the best-selling handicapping books of all time, a must-read for any aspiring horseplayer, whose lessons are still valid today. However, the game has changed a lot in 14 years, so this 400-page release takes into account the modern game and how to handicap it and bet on it successfully. This is not just a cosmetic revision, as Steve Davidowitz took dead aim on modern challenges to the handicapper, building on his timeless approaches from 4 decades of involvement in racing with accessible new techniques.
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  • Long-awaited update of a handicapping classic
  • Shows how to adapt traditional techniques to the modern game
  • Well-written work by a highly respected writer and handicapper


  • May not be of interest to racing fans who bet recreationally or not at all


  • Track Bias, Bias Profiles of a Dozen American Tracks, Synthetic Track Handicapping
  • The Money Tree, The Trainer's Window, What's He Doing In Today's Race, The New "Supertrainers"
  • Key Race Method, An Edge in Class, The Mystery of Allowance Races, The Race is to the Swift
  • Pace Handicapping: The New Old Frontier, Pace and the Single-Race Bias, Theory vs. Experience
  • Working with Workouts, The Power of Pedigree Handicapping, Drugs in Horse Racing
  • To Bet or Not to Bet and How Much, Exotic Wagering, The Best Handicapping Tools Ever Invented, The Winning Horseplayer
  • Appendix A: Guide to Daily Racing Form Past Performances -- how to read and understand the PP's, creating a morning line
  • Appendix B: Speed Figures -- parallel time charts for one-turn and two-tur races, how to compute speed figures
  • Appendix C: Pace Figures -- fractional closkings and pace pars, how to identify too-fast early splits
  • Appendix D: Exotic-Wagering Strategies -- how to construct winning daily doubles and exactas up to the pick six.

Guide Review - Betting Thoroughbreds for the 21st Century by Steve Davidowitz

Unlike any other mainstream sport the racing game is ever-changing at a fast rate, and those who wish to profit at the windows need to keep up or be left behind. Davidowitz, whose original ideas are still valid today, has updated them and provided fresh approaches and concepts for today's environment. Synthetic surfaces have replaced conventional dirt in some racing venues and several new tracks have opened, the Breeders' Cup, which did not exist until 1984, has since expanded to 14 races, horses ship in from foreign countries more frequently, bettors have a deeper menu of exotic wagers at their disposal, the Internet offers up more intense, wide-ranging handicapping data including race replay videos and enhanced past performances, "supertrainers" have emerged, and slot machines have boosted purses at locations which were once considered minor league.

As well, he included track bias profiles for 21 North American tracks including diagrams, and adding a greater focus on the synthetics where the biases can be consistent or unpredictable, shows how to spot hidden class angles at every level of competition, when to use speed and pace figures and when they are a trap, and how to skillfully read race conditions to identify standout plays. He also focuses on the untapped power of pedigree handicapping, a skill that some players may have placed on the back burner as handicapping has increasingly been reduced to number-crunching.

The book is a wake-up call for old-timers, while newcomers will be fascinated by the many different ways a horse race can be successfully bet on, and will find themselves referring to this book for years, possibly using other books to research each of the concepts in more detail.

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