A HRG Index Guidelines

* Important Added Data as of 4/20/22

From all races issued this year, totals show that any rank without color (red / gold / yellow / or green) while also falling within the suggested odds parameters of 9-5 to 19-1 . . . is showing an overall negative ROI.  Data table below (545 total races issued).

w/o color
Rank 1 2 3 4
cnt: 7 33 219 354
hit 1 0 30 36
hit % 0.14 0.00 0.14 0.10
in (@ $2) 14 66 438 708
out 7.6 0 303.4 460.2
ROI 0.54 0.00 0.69 0.65
p-l -6.4 -66 -303.4 -460.2
avg pay 7.6 #DIV/0! 10.1 12.8


Horses with color are win-bet profitable in all ranks, however – interestingly – the order is almost reversed.  That is – 4th ranks with color are more profitable than 3rd ranks with color – then 1st ranks with color – then lowest (right at break even) is 2nd rank with color.

Exactas were extremely interesting.  I had stopped reporting exacta results several weeks back when they were showing (by using rote application of Index guidelines) negative expectancy. With the addition of the ‘color requirement’ for the “top horse” in exacta combinations – the results jumped to high profits.  Part-wheeling each Index qualifier (i.e. at odds 9-5 to 19-1 and has a category with color) to each other horse in the index results in –
data table below:

rank 1 rank 2 rank 3 rank 4
$1 exactas
race cnt: 370 413 370 129
hit 90 57 57 40
hit % 0.24 0.14 0.15 0.31
in (@ $1) 1110 1239 1110 387
out 1408.3 933 1066 1036.2
ROI 1.27 0.75 0.96 2.68
p-l 298.3 -306.0 -44.3 649.2
avg pay 15.6 25.9


So using the top rank is very solid, and adding in the 4th rank ups the # of wager opportunities as well as the ROI.

The Guidelines below have not been changed, but it is suggested you work the above data into your own approach. 


Race-Passing Guidelines:

We try to issue a late update on each race, but for various reasons, sometimes cannot. So – if one of the following occurs – pass the race.

If fewer than 5 runners start – pass race
– If 5 runners start and the favorite is atop the index at 3-5 or less – pass race
– If 6 runners start and 2 of top 3 Index horses are at less than 2-1 – pass race

– Race is taken off the turf (unless previously re-handicapped for dirt – check surface listing in Index)


Explanation of columns: 

The column factors and rankings are to help guide you in your final wager decisions (of course – while always also considering the odds being offered).

*New (3/18/22):  The PN column is a ‘power number’ – For when there is no current model, and for further clarification on the relative strength of the contenders in the Index. Consider any separation of less than 1 as fairly insignificant.

There are 4 rankings (of the 33 that we keep stats on) indicated in the “+” columns immediately to the right of the ML (morning line) column. These 4 are the highest ROI factors – quantified and segregated by track/distance/surface.

– The strength of these tracked factors will be shown by the color + sign.  The color code importance (ranked by ROI) is: 1st / 2nd / 3rd / 4th   If no + in one or more of the cells, it means fewer than 4 factors have a positive ROI. If more than one of same color – indicates a tie.

– The column heading “ml” – is the morning line.


Decision making:

The order of the Index horses will closely track the ‘color’ + marks in most instances. Occasionally there will be a 3rd or 4th horse with positive factors showing. Let the near post-time odds guide your decision. However any top-ranked Index horse with even one + factor should be an automatic choice at any acceptable odds. “Ties” go to the higher ranked runner.


WinBetting Guidelines for “Live-odds” betting . . .

– Bet as late as possible.
– Use 19-1 as high odds cutoff for bet consideration and 9-5 as low odds minimum.

Remember: In general, you are considering the ranks from the top down – if the + factor weightings don’t over-rule. The near post-time odds will determine your final decision on close calls.

Odds guidelines: Require minimum of 5-1 combined odds on any two horse wager where choices come from among top 3 ranked, and 6-1 or higher combined odds if 4th rank is one of the choices – with 4-1 being a minimum acceptable on the actual 4th ranked horse.

We suggest betting two horse for win if odds allow.

Pass race if the top-ranked is at 6-5 or less and also has two + factor markings (*also see Race-Passing-Guidelines at top).

Remember – if one of the Index horses is off at less than bettable odds (9-5), or there is a late scratch – those are not to be considered in the rankings for the odds guidelines above.  You will then ‘move others up’ as if they scratch and/or low odds horse was not in the Index.


Win-Betting Guidelines if “Early-bird” betting –

For Morning Line odds, require:
2-1 as minimum acceptable ML odds for top two ranked horses
4-1 as min for 3rd and 4th rank
. . . Pass race if top horse is at ml 8-5 or lower

Prefer by considering + factors.  

– If either of top two is at ML 4-1 or higher – bet automatically
– If all top 3 at 5-1 or higher – bet all 3


Place Bet Spot Play:

When either your top bet choice or 2nd bet choice (that is also in the top 3 straight ranking in the Index) goes off at 7-1 to 19-1 – bet it to place.


Exacta-betting Guidelines:  

Use each of the 2 win-bet qualifiers as one of your “on top” horses. Use the remaining Index horses underneath each of those.  

If the race favorite is not in the Index – also include it on the bottom of each ticket

You would then usually have either 6 or 8 combinations (fewer if a late scratch eliminates one of the Index horses).



* Stay within your limits.  There are usually $1.00 exactas available, or if your bankroll is light, don’t hesitate to skip the exacta until you build it up.

* Odds changes are part of the game. If you are betting live, try to wait until the last possible moment to make your betting decisions and place your wager/s. The odds will still change after you have placed your wagers – even still changing after the horses are running. This is unavoidable, but it will go in your favor as often as it goes against you, so don’t fret it – just be as precise and disciplined as you can be.

* When changing odds near post-time, or whatever other reason causes some confusion/hesitancy in your final decision – as a general guideline;
– choose on the side of making a wager
choose on the side of the higher odds
prefer those dropping from the morning line
prefer higher Index ranks (i.e. 4th rank is least preferred unless good reason – like multiple ‘color rankings’)