Harness Racing

Introduction To Horse Harness Racing

Harness racing is a type of horse racing where the horses usually pull a two-wheeled cart, or in Europe another form, known as trot monté, where racing under saddle is also accepted.  The race is conducted in one of two paces – in Europe usually at a trotting gait, whilst in America approximately 80% of races are at a pacing gate. The biggest difference between the pacers and trotters is the way that the horses’ legs are moved – the pacers move their legs laterally whilst the trotters move their legs in diagonal pairs.

The Types of Betting Markets

Some of the most popular wagers for harness racing are the Win (for the straight winner), Place (betting on the horse finishing first or second), Show (betting on the horse finishing in first, second or third place), Exacta (picking the top two positions in the correct order), Trifecta (picking the top three finishers in the correct order) and Daily Double (choosing the winners for any two consecutive races that day).

The Best Races To Bet On

The best races for pacers that are two-year olds include the Metro Stake and Woodrow Wilson, whilst for three-year olds watch the Little Brown Jug, Adios, the North American Cup and Meadowlands Place.  The Little Brown Jug, the Cane Pace and the Messenger Stake make up the exciting Pacing Triple Crown.

For trotting events for two-year olds take a look at the Peter Haughton Memorial, whilst for three-year olds it is best to follow the Kentucky Futurity, the World Trotting Derby, the Hambletonian and the Yonkers Trot.  Those last three make up the Triple Crown for the trotting world.

Betting Tips – Drivers

Definitely take a look at the Universal Driver Rating, which ranks all the harness racing drivers statistics by their numbers of wins, starts, seconds and thirds. Top ranking drivers are certainly a safer bet than unknowns. Any number around .300 is good, the higher that increases the better the driver. The highest possible rating is 1.000

The Post Position

In Harness Racing post position plays a big part in determining who the winner may be.  Generally the horses that have drawn the most inside posts are going to have a better chance at winning than those who are parked wide, though occasionally when horses break free from the wide posts there are big winnings for those who have betted on the contrary. When you are looking at the horses previous times, do consider the impact that being parked wide in previous races has had on their finish time.  Finish times in harness racing can’t be taken at face value when the post position has been taken into consideration.

The Horses’ Form

In any horse racing event it is a good idea to study the form of the horse prior to a race, such as what handicapping factors might the horse be facing in the current race?  Things to consider if a horse has recently lost form is by looking at previous performances for clues – did they compete at a track where he had a poor record, yet at this track his record is good?  Is this the right level of competition for the horse, perhaps previously it may have been competing at a level that was just too intense for its capabilities?  The serious punter looking to win big considers all of these possibilities.