Dog Racing Tips – Speed
As you go up through the grades in greyhound racing, you’ll notice that the times of the races get faster and faster. With the occasional fluke, it’s safe to say that Time is tied to Grade. So, naturally, when you use Speed for a handicapping factor, you have to take Grade into account.
There are many mathematical systems for doing that, most of them complicated tables that add and subtract seconds or even fractions of seconds to come up with a variant for each Grade. I’ve used them all from Beyer’s method for horses to obscure methods from people you’ve never heard of. None of them impressed me enough to where I continued to use them.
For me, the trouble with using these tables and methods is that there are so many variables in a race that can impact Speed, that nothing can really compare a dog’s Speed in one race to another dog’s Speed in a different race reliably.
For instance, if a dog is impeded in a race, it almost always has a slower than normal time. That seems simple enough, right? But, what if the dog is impeded in a Stakes race where the finish time is a track record or close to it?
And what if the dog has a slower time than the other dogs, but a faster time than it usually has? How do you factor that in with the rest of its races? Will that dog run a very fast race next time without the pace of the Stakes race to push it along? Or will it revert back to the slower Speed that it shows for races that weren’t Stakes?
What about dogs that run slow times from some post positions and faster times than others? If you’re using a mechanical method to figure Speed variants, you may miss this. So what’s the best way to deal with Speed if you want to use it as a factor without complicated tables and math?
Well, many old-fashioned “pencil” handicappers, like myself, use a formula that has been used in horse racing for decades, if not centuries. We look at the latest 3 races and average them. When I do it, I omit the races where there was interference or trouble, unless the dog has several trouble lines. I also omit any lines on days when there was bad weather.
This doesn’t take long. You don’t really even need a calculator after you’ve been doing it for a while. I think it works better in higher grade races, but you can see if that holds true at your favorite track. Keep in mind though that Speed is just one of the factors in greyhound handicapping. Don’t forget all of the other variables that help you win at the dog track.
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