The serious handicapper first sorts out which of the several handicap-able factors are the most pertinent in the scoring of the race. Speed? Break? Early speed? Closing? Form? Class changes? Post position? Etc., etc. Early on, he realizes that some factors are more pertinent at some tracks than at others. At this point, he is on the right road to success.
However, most handicappers then proceed to give far too much credence to differences that are too slight. If he has learned, for example, that “speed” is the single most important factor at a certain track, he awards the most “points”, or “credits”, to the dog he determines is the fastest. And perhaps he deducts “points” for the “slowest” one or two dogs. That would be justified if substantial differences existed among the dogs.
The problem, however, is that quite often too little difference exists. For example, if he determines that the “fastest” dog can be judged to be capable of a time of 22.85 seconds, and the slowest dog is computed to be capable of 23.70 seconds, that’s a pretty clear advantage for the faster dog. (Nearly a full second, though keep in mind that this is less than a 4% difference.) But, how much difference between the anticipated times of the six dogs between these two?
If several of the dogs are grouped between 22.85 and, say, 23.15, that is far too little difference to matter! These dogs should all be scored as virtually “even”, in this respect! If, instead, most of the dogs are grouped between 23.50 and 23.70, a good edge can be considered for the top dog.
Likewise for the other factors considered. A dog that breaks only very slightly better than the other seven dogs should not be given much preference, for example. If a certain starting box proves to be only slightly advantageous, this edge can be made of little value if that dog is a slow breaker.
A dog that closes very strongly might be considered to be a contender, but if there is too little difference in this respect, don’t award meaningless points.
We handicappers tend to pursue ever smaller factors to measure, hoping that we will eventually stumble on the magic “key” to success. I’m sorry to report that no such one key exists. (I’ve been looking for it since 1978!)
Dog racing is, by nature, pretty unpredictable. Keep your eye out for opportunities that exist because of meaningful advantages that you can identify.
Don’t waste your money on imaginary differences!