Primary Handicapping Factors

  • Thoroughbred Horse Racing at Santa Anita Park

    We view the Primary Handicapping Factors as those directly related to the ability of a thoroughbred race horse.

  • PHOTO CREDIT: ASSOCIATED PRESS - PHOTOGRAPHER: MORRY GASH

    Thoroughbred Class

    "Show me the man who can class horses correctly and I will show you the man who can win all the money he wants, and he only needs a dollar to start"

    Pittsburgh Phil

    Time has shown it to be one of the greatest truths ever uttered about horse racing.  Class, that intangible thing that defies definition, controls almost positively the running of thoroughbreds..!  Class enables one horse to beat another no matter what the physical odds imposed may be, what the conditions or what the distance.  You may say it is that which enables a pit bull terrier to whip a big dog of another breed.  Hard to define, but everybody sees it, when it's there.

    MAXIMS AND METHODS OF PITTSBURGH PHIL

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    The Racing Condition and Current Form of a Thoroughbred

     

    "Horses are the same as human beings where condition is the test of superiority.  Winners repeat frequently while the defeated are apt to be defeated almost continuously.  Condition has more to do with a horse winning or losing a race than the weight it carries.  A horse in poor condition cannot beat one of his own class.  A high class horse could not win a race with a feather on his back if he is not in condition.  It is as well to play horses that are in winning form.  A horse in winning condition generally repeats or runs into the money.  Different tracks cause decided changes in form frequently.  Study horses' whims and fancies for certain tracks and you will see a good lay; but a high class horse will do his best on any track."

    Pittsburgh Phil

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    The Ancestral Lineage of a Thoroughbred

    Thoroughbred Lineage

    Thoroughbred race horses inherit mental and physical characteristics from their Sire (father of a race horse) and Dam (mother), each passing on to their offspring the genetic code provenant from the two ancestral lines.

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    The Pace Factor in a Horse Race

    Pace Analysis

    "Pace Makes the Race"

    Doc Sartin

    Pace can be a decisive factor anytime a contender controls at least two segments of a race.  Further, Early Speed as measured to the first call is not the same as Early Pace which is measured at the second call; in sprints, the former occurs at two furlongs and the later occurs at four furlongs.  They are two segments of a race, the first fraction and the second fraction; with the third segment being, the final fraction.

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    The Attribute of Speed in a Thoroughbred

    Thoroughbred Speed

    Speed is one of the three elements of Class and that makes the two inseparable.  Speed can be a decisive factor in dirt sprints and uncontested Speed can be a decisive factor at any distance over any surface.  Mind you, Speed is one component of Class, the other two being stamina and will.