Do you keep a Model?  (No, no – I don’t mean in that way!)  I’m referring to a daily accounting of how the tracks you play are running, and how your own pre-race handicapping matches up with the reality of the actual results of those races.

A very revealing truth is that most race players don’t ‘do’ record-keeping – of any kind.

Why not?  Because it’s a boring and somewhat tedious task.  But . . . cashing tickets is neither boring nor tedious!  The question then becomes are you willing to to put up with a bit of tedium to substantially increase your bottom-line profits?

This one fairly simple task can instantly set you above 90% of all race players, and give you insights that will put you in a highly favorable position as you compete for your desired share of the betting pools. Interested?

Many of you know that I ‘came up’ through the Sartin Methodology in the early 80’s, and these ideas learned there – keeping both a Track Profile and a Handicapping Model – became second-nature for me.  I quickly realized that the insights obtained by this procedure are simply too valuable to over-look.

Handicapping is a two-part process . . .  handicapping the horses – and – handicapping yourself.

One of our greatest strength as a species is Pattern Recognition.  However, without valid and pertinent record-keeping, we shut ourselves off from taking advantage of that strength:  If you don’t have patterns to look at – you can’t identify the profitable ones!

Your record keeping at minimum should consist of a Track Profile, a Handicapping Model, and accurate,complete Betting Results.


The Track Profile –

Each individual track has it’s own distinct ‘personality.’  As well, each course on that track (outer and inner turf, down-the-hill, one or two turn miles, etc.), and each distance at that track are run differently on average.

You need to know (from your own records as a fact, not merely hearsay) the differences in running style that fare best in these different race types.  Distances should be separated, as well as different track conditions (sloppy, muddy vs. fast).

In a basic, pared-down form, you should at least track the following things:
1. The position of the eventual winner at the second call – and its number of lengths behind the leader at that point
2. And – from the above – the ‘running style’ of the winning horse. Was he a pace setter (front runner) – a pace presser (mid pack to just off the pace setter) – or a late runner (come from farther behind).

* Note: for the ‘basic’ Profile, the 2nd call in sprints is the 1/2 mile (4f), the 2nd call in routes is the 3/4 mile (6f)
* Note: when working from results charts – the lengths behind need to be added up from all the horses that were ahead at that point (not the the single figure given next to its position)
* Note: I personally do not include in the Track Profile; Maiden races, Maiden Claiming races, Grade 1 or 2 races, races for 2 yr. olds

Below is a simple example of a spreadsheet Track Profile for routes at Gulfstream over the previous 4 days . . .
* Note: Your Models can sometimes be short-lived – with changing weather conditions particularly. Be aware of shifts in the ‘norm’

(the “2nd call BL” column shows the lengths behind the pace setter – I round, so a ‘nose,’ a ‘head,’ a ‘neck,’ and ‘1/4’ are all rounded down while ‘3/4’ is rounded up)

Track Date Race # Distance Surface condition # start 2nd call pos 2nd call Bl Style
Gp 21-Aug 9 8.5f d f 8 1 0 E
Gp 22-Aug 4 8f d f 7 1 0 E
Gp 22-Aug 6 8.5f d f 10 4 3.5 P
Gp 24-Aug 1 8f d f 8 1 0 E
Gp 24-Aug 3 8f d f 7 1 0 E
Gp 24-Aug 4 8f d f 7 4 6.5 L
Gp 24-Aug 6 8f d f 9 1 0 E

In the above Track Profile, for routes when the track (Gulfstream) is fast – a player would be able to key on the top early runner (5 of 7 winners were leading at the 2nd call) – eliminate deep closers – and require any mid-pack presser types to look very good in all other aspects before consideration.

This is information you must have – at all the tracks you follow.


The Handicapping Model –

This model can be as extensive, or as minimal as is your particular approach to the game.  In short: Track (in spreadsheet form similar to above) all the variables you currently use in your ‘handicapping method.’   As discussed many times in previous posts, simplification should be a goal. 

What this kind of tracking will do for you is allow you to simplify intelligently – and according to the reality of your own handicapping (as shaped by the tracks you play, and the kinds of races you choose). 

If you faithfully track – say – 7 factors , you will almost certainly find out from your model-keeping that a very few of them are far more predictive than most of the others.

. . .  Again – this is information you must have.


The Betting Model

Any player worth his/her salt will keep records of all wagers made. If you don’t do this, then you are by definition a recreational player.  I take the Bettng Model a bit further than most.  I track my wagers by rank and odds – as touched on in this post:  Bet Management

Going this extra step provides me with better insight, and better paying winners


If I know that, for example, my third-ranked horse is returning to me a +30% ROI at odds of 5/1 to 9/1 – while my top-ranked contender is barely break-even at 7/5 to 9-5, and my second ranked horse is overall losing at less than 3/1 . . . I can now have the confidence of my own long-term results, and thereby make the appropriate call on how to wager the race (no matter how over-powering the figs on either of those top two ranks appear!).


I know it all sounds like “work” – and that’s because, well – it is.  But its rewarding work, and if you do this kind of work . . . your BankRoll will respond accordingly.

If any of you would like spreadsheet examples that might help you in formatting, or in ‘getting the right idea’ on how to keep these models – respond below with a comment to the post, and I’ll send you on a sample of what I use (you’ll need Excel – or a compatible).

Best of fortune to you all – and as always, comments are welcomed.     – Gary


  1. Glenn holt

    Can I get a template for profiling thanks

  2. Please send a copy of the spread sheets
    Thank you

  3. Gary
    I requested the template prior but don’t recall getting it.

    Can you please send or resend as the case may be.

    Thanks in advance.


  4. Hi Gary I have enjoyed your articles and am learning a lot over the past year. I would like to get more serious and I would greatly appreciate any handicapping spreadsheet models you have available to get me on the right track.
    Regards Len

  5. Gary,
    Can I get a copy of this template?
    Thanks in advance

  6. would like to see a spreadsheet model. wanted to get serious and would like to see any models you can send to get ideas on how to begin working with spreadsheets thank you

    • Ernest – The spreadsheets have been sent. You should find them of interest in helpiong to profitability in this game. – Gary

  7. I’d like to take a look at your spreadsheet.

  8. If possible to get a look @ the spreadsheet it would be greatly appropriated.


    • Matt – Sure thing – its on the way via Excel attach in an email. Best of fortune – Gary

  9. Gary,

    Please provide me with your spreadsheet.

  10. A good spreadsheet is worth its weight in GOLD. Would you send me a copy as well please.

  11. Very interesting…would like to see your spread sheets…Thank you

  12. Gary, I have been following you for several years and all interactions have been positive. I have been record keeping, but on an intermittent schedule with random facts. Please provide me with your example spreadsheet and maybe I can become more committed. Handicapping part time is at best difficult, but it is enjoyable!

    Thank you,


    • Bill – Good to hear from you as always. You’ve got the right idea – to organize and get a bit more serious about model-keeping. It makes a big difference – for some, even the difference between profitability and lack of same. I’ll send the sheets right away. – Gary

  13. Tried to leave this yesterday, but something didn’t work right. Oh yeah, probably me. Anyway, would certainly like to see your spreadsheet, Gary. But do you have to be an Excel expert to use it?



    • Dave – The spreadsheets are just examples of what I use. To use them for yourself, you would need to know the basics of Excel. I.e the formulas are there behind each cell for you to see and modify according to your own preferences. I’d suggest keeping the original as a ‘master’ – then you can make copies and experiment with those. Best of fortune – Gary

  14. Jeff Hogue

    I would like the spreadsheets as well please.

  15. Peter Manti

    A refreshing reminder. My notebook scribbling are no longer sufficient.
    Thank you, and please send the spreadsheet.

    • Peter – Yes – in my case thank goodness for computers . . . I can very rarely re-read later what I so illegibly wrote originally! Spreadsheet on its way. – Gary

  16. Joe McCarthy

    Gary – This modeling idea sounds spot on. Anytime you can delineate “tendencies” that certainly provides a “leg up” over the competition. Wish I would have heard of Sartin years ago when I first started playing the ponies. Anyway, please send the spreadsheet – I’m anxious to see it. – Joe

    • Joe – Much of what passes for “modern” pace handicapping from various authors – has its roots in, and is a distillation of (sometimes for the worse) Doc Sartin’s original theories. I’ll send the spreadsheet right over. – Gary

  17. John Deyeso

    Can you send me samples


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