how to read a harness horse racing program

Understanding a harness horse racing program requires observing key sections. The “Entries” section lists horses in each race, their drivers, and their recent performances. The “Morning Line” shows the odds for each horse. The “Past Performances” section provides detailed information about each horse’s past races, including their finishing positions, times, and earnings. The “Track Condition” section reports the race track’s current conditions, such as fast, wet, or muddy. The “Race Summaries” section provides a brief overview of each race, including the distance, race conditions, and purse. By carefully examining these sections, you can gather insights into the horses, their performance history, and the overall conditions of the race.

Understanding the Track and Race Information

To get a clear idea of the races, you must first decode the program’s information. This includes:

  • Track Name and Date: Identifies the racetrack and the day of the races.
  • Race Number: Sequential number assigned to each race on the program.
  • Post Time: Scheduled time each race is set to start.
  • Race Distance: Length of the race in miles or meters.
  • Class: Level of competition based on factors like ability, earnings, or age.
  • Purse: Prize money awarded to the top finishers.
  • Type of Race: Indicates if it’s a claiming race, stakes race, etc.

While the specifics may vary slightly between tracks, this general information provides a solid foundation for understanding the race details.

1Horse’s Post Position
2Horse’s Name
3Driver’s Name
4Trainer’s Name
5Horse’s Owner
6Horse’s Recent Form Lines
7Horse’s Lifetime Stats
8Betting Lines

Deciphering the Horse Stats and Conditions

Understanding the horse stats and conditions is key to successful harness horse racing betting. Here’s how to decode the information provided in a racing program:

Horse Stats

  • Name: The horse’s name
  • Sire and Dam: The horse’s parents
  • Age: The horse’s age in years
  • Sex: The horse’s sex (male or female)
  • Breed: The horse’s breed (usually Standardbred)
  • Color: The horse’s coat color
  • Weight: The horse’s weight in pounds
  • Driver: The jockey who will drive the horse
  • Trainer: The person responsible for the horse’s training
  • Recent Performance: A summary of the horse’s past race results

Horse Conditions

In addition to the horse’s stats, the program may also include information about the horse’s physical condition:

  • Hoof Condition: Any abnormalities or injuries to the horse’s hooves
  • Legs: Any injuries or soreness in the horse’s legs
  • Back: Any issues with the horse’s back or spine
  • Mouth: Any dental problems or injuries
  • Other: Any other health concerns or special equipment the horse may be using (e.g., blinkers, hobbles)

By carefully examining the horse stats and conditions, you can gain valuable insights into the horse’s overall health and fitness, which can help you make informed betting decisions.

Analyzing the Driver and Trainer Records

Scouting the driver and trainer records is vital in harness horse racing. The driver’s skills and the trainer’s ability to prepare the horse can significantly impact the outcome of the race.

Driver’s Records

  • Win Percentage: Indicates the driver’s success rate in previous races.
  • Earnings Per Start: Measures the average amount of money the driver has earned per race.
  • Recent Performance: Reviews the driver’s performance in the past few races, focusing on wins and top-three finishes.

Trainer’s Records

  • Avg. Earnings Per Start by Horse: Shows the average earnings per race for all horses trained by the trainer.
  • Stable Percentage: Indicates the percentage of races won by the trainer’s stable.
  • Specialization: May reveal the trainer’s expertise in specific types of races, such as claiming or stakes events.

Comparing Drivers and Trainers:

Win Percentage65%62%
Earnings Per Start$3,000$2,800
Recent Performance3 wins, 2 top-3 finishes in last 5 races2 wins, 3 top-3 finishes in last 5 races

In this example, both the driver and trainer have strong records. However, the driver has a slightly higher win percentage and recent performance, making them a favorable choice.

Evaluating the Post Positions and Odds

Post positions and odds are crucial factors to consider when analyzing a harness horse racing program. Here’s how to evaluate them:

Post Positions

  • Inside posts (1-5): Favorable for horses with quick starts and strong early speed.
  • Outside posts (6-10): Less advantageous, as horses may have to work harder to overtake opponents.
  • Post 1: The most coveted post, providing an immediate advantage and clear path forward.
  • Post 10: The least preferred post, as horses have the most ground to cover and face traffic.


< 1:1 (Even Money)Short odds, indicating the horse is expected to win.1:1
Between 1:1 and 2:1Mid-range odds, suggesting the horse has a good chance of winning.2:1
Between 2:1 and 5:1Longer odds, indicating the horse is considered a long shot.5:1
5:1 or higherVery long odds, suggesting the horse has a very low chance of winning.10:1

Odds may change throughout the races, so it’s important to monitor them regularly. Higher odds often indicate a horse with potential value, while lower odds suggest a high probability of winning but a lower payout.

Well, there you have it, folks! Now that you’re armed with this newfound knowledge, you can tackle those racing programs with confidence. Just remember to keep an eye on the odds, the trainer’s record, and the horse’s past performances. And most importantly, don’t forget to have fun! Thanks for taking the time to read, and be sure to visit us again soon for more tips and tricks on all things horse racing. Good luck at the track!