Picking the Perfect Horse

Arnold Palmer 1970

Debra Giglio, owner of "The Winning Ticket", is in love with horseracing. She is a Handicapper and has a passion for getting people hooked on the races.

"I’m a handicapper by passion, and I work to support my habit," she says.

Handicapping means that you study whatever data you feel you need to look at a race (such as pictures of races, etc.) and determine which horses are more likely to win than others. "Then usually you bet on who you like," said Giglio.

In order to pick that winning horse, Giglio says there are several things you should do, starting with the run at Del Mar.

"Maybe it has something to do with the ocean air, but they always tell you how they feel," said Giglio. "You want to see a horse whose ears are forward. You don’t want to see them when they’re back because it means something’s bothering them, particularly with fillies. Just like women, they tell you how they feel."

Another tip is to go to the paddock and the walking ring. If you stand there for awhile, you'll keep going back to a certain horse or two. "There will be something about a certain horse that will attract you, and nine times out of ten it’s something positive," said Giglio.

The third thing Giglio says is important is to look at the list of standing from last year. "The same top five jockeys from last year are the same," she said. "And the top five trainers are usually the same. That group of jockeys and trainers win 95 percent of all the races." Giglio says it's a good idea to bet on them as well.

But most importantly, she encourages people to come out and look at the horses. "They’re the most fun to watch and I’ll tell you, the best thing you can do is pick a horse that you like, bet it to win or bet it across the board, whichever you like. But make a bet because the first time that horse wins, you’re hooked for life."

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