What is “bias” in horse racing?

Bias in horse racing doesn’t relate to discrimination, though there’s been plenty of that during the modern history of the sport.

Instead it is used to describe situations in which a racetrack favors certain running styles or post position.

Here are a couple examples:

Of the 45 races run at 1 1/16th miles on the turf at fictional Doubledown Downs, 32 were won by horses who raced far back early. That 71 percent win percentage screams “closer bias” and indicates you’ll want to boost the chances of the come-from-behinders when you are handicapping such a race.

Meanwhile, 5 furlong sprints on the main track at Doubledown Downs have been dominated by inside speed horses. With two-thirds of the 62 races run at the distance having been won by horses leaving the inside three post positions and racing within a length of the lead in the early stages of the race. Needless to say, you will want to upgrade the chances of a speed horse breaking from the inside in such a situation.

A word of caution: Track biases can change quickly, sometimes when the weather changes and other times for no apparent reason. Bottom line: Keep your records up to date and check the latest results at various distances frequently to be sure you’re not betting on a pattern that is no longer in play.

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