A racehorse must have good breeding, to become the athlete it's expected to be. Breeding is a good place to start, but not the only way to pick a good horse. Good breeding does, however, improve the horse's ability to race, as long as he or she is into racing and has the right attitude to win. Most spectators don't have access to a horse's background, unless they are betting on a high stakes race or a derby.
Getting a race horse to like what he does is half the battle. A horse not so interested in racing will tend to look around at everything going on around him or her. The horse will be more interested in the surroundings than on the task at hand. This is a good sign the horse will not put his heart into running the race to the best of his or her ability The horse should be alert, should look ready for the job at hand, and should look in top shape.
Size doesn't matter when it comes to racing. Some well known American and international winners have been several inches shorter than their opponents. If a shorter horse looks very fit, looks keen on running, and has a good race record, don't hesitate to pick this horse. You will also get a bigger thrill out of watching a smaller horse move past its competition.
Every race horse in the U.S. has a racing record, from every sanctioned racetrack it has run on. Look for a horse that's done well in the past, on the particular track you're betting at.
Every track is slightly different, in terms of depth and footing. Some horses do better on specific tracks. The horse should have done well on the specific track in the past couple seasons. If wins were prior, the horse may be tiring of racing and may be close to ending his career.
Consider the age of the horse. There have been older horses who have come back and done well at age 9, 10, or 11. But these horses are the exception. younger horses beginning their careers, having several races or an entire season under their belts and having placed high are usually a good bet. Pay close attention to the current season as well A horse that has been coming in last or back in the field consistently is not likely to pull off a surprise win.
Other tips including watching carefully for limping and other signs of injury. An angry or abusive trainer is another red flag that the horse is not performing well, through no fault of his own. These are horses to eliminate from the betting roster, so you can focus on more likely winners.