Betting 101: All You Need to Know About Handicapping a Horse’s Speed

There are numerous ways a bettor can handicap horse races. Some bettors prefer handicapping paces, and some like to handicap form. However, there’s one undeniably helpful thing, which is speed handicapping.

Horse races are all about the speed and what horse will finish the race first. A horse’s speed would grant the most wins – most of the time. Thus, it only makes sense to handicap the contender’s speed and find out which among them is the fastest.

Read below to give yourself a considerable edge when picking out the race’s winners. This page covers what you need to know about the speed handicapping method when betting on horse races.

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What Is the Speed Handicapping Method?


You may have already guessed it. A speed handicapping method is picking horse race winners while determining which contenders can run the fastest in the track or race. Numerous handicappers have made tons of money by evaluating the horse’s speed. Indeed, it’s because speed is essential when it comes to races.

Why? It’s because speed is one of the most important factors contributing to a horse’s win. Of course, horses also rely on their pace and training to race a certain distance or surface. While it’s true that there are numerous factors to consider when betting on horses, no one can deny that a fast horse has a good chance of winning a race.

If you’re thinking of using this handicapping method, be sure to pick a credible betting website that gives you numerous information to aid you in your betting journey. You can try out well-known betting websites like This handicapping method is effective at an online racebook.

The History of the Speed Handicapping Method

In the early 1970s, Andrew Beyer, a columnist for the Washington Post and a respected handicapper, changed the way people bet on horse races. He believed people could win their bets by looking at how fast a horse ran in a given race.

Beyer is most famous for his speed figures. So much so that it’s translated into several languages. He created these figures before online racebooks existed, and it’s still used by both veteran and newbie horse racing bettors today.

Should You Use the Speed Handicapping Method When Betting?


Are you the kind of bettor that feels a sense of thrill when horses surge to the lead? Are you the type of bettor that feels excited when horses try to win a race with just an inch of difference in the distance? Then you might want to try speed handicap.

The speed handicapping method can save you hours looking at different informational guides while being able to handicap more races. More races can mean more opportunities to win! You can even bet on horse races worldwide (traditionally and online) just by looking at the speed of the horses, ensuring that you make practical and rational bets.

The Possible Dangers of the Speed Handicapping Method

Despite the value of speed figures, it isn’t perfect. The issue of this method comes from attempting to evaluate under ideal situations. But the reality is that the conditions won’t always be perfect. A speed figure can tell you how fast a horse can run when every factor in the tracks is ideal. However, it doesn’t account for interference in the “ideal” situation.

Bettors should recognize the importance of different factors. It includes the possibility that the horse may have been bothered by something in the race which caused them to slow down. At the same time, a horse that ran uncontested may also have an inflated speed figure. Therefore, it would help if you genuinely considered how the horses earned that speed figure before using it as your handicap method.

The most notable variable is track bias. It’s a damaging variable that can disrupt a speed figure. It favors the horses that can usually run off the space and horses with great speed. So, bookies would want it to eliminate any biases when creating a speed figure. Yet, this is something that people still struggle with.

If you have ever tried betting on a horse before, then you know that a track condition is an essential factor to consider. When it rains, or other horses block a horse, it can cause a challenge for a contender to show off their speed. Unfortunately, there’s also a possibility that they can experience an injury, or the jockey may fall off. These are just some of the situations that can prevent even the fastest horses from winning.

It’s why betting is always a gamble. As such, you should evaluate two things when using this method: which horse is the fastest and how this horse can potentially be affected by racing conditions.

Betting Tips to Use When Using the Speed Handicapping Method


When using the speed handicapping method, you want to ensure that you’re on top of your game. This section covers the tips to keep in mind when betting based on speed.

  • Handpick the races that you want to bet on. Using the speed handicapping method can save you time. However, you should still pick the races and games you’re familiar with to have a higher chance of winning.
  • Ensure you know the difference between tracks, turf, and dirt. Horses rarely train and race on both tracks, so ensure that you know which horses run on which track. For instance, when a horse looks like they race terribly on a dirt track but shows good short-distance workouts, there’s a high chance that they have great speed when performing on turf surfaces.
  • Always increase your knowledge about horse races, betting, and speed handicapping. Finding information with the help of the internet can increase your edge in winning. Keep updated with the odds, watch the latest news about the contenders, and join a forum for speed handicapping. The more you gather information about these things, the more you can improve your chances of winning.

Final Thoughts

Picking a handicapping method always depends on your preferences. There will be some methods that would suit your style, and some won’t work with your strategy. For example, do you prefer the fast way or a method that takes time? Do you like to look at every factor or just one specific factor?

To help you make a decision on which method to use, you should always conduct your research about the best handicapping strategies for horse race betting. Then, use that information to aid you in your betting journey, just like this page!