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What is Pace in Horse Racing?

There are a number of important factors to look at when placing bets on horse racing betting sites.  The top two are Form and Class. 

 

To learn more about Form, please see the article What is Form in Horse Racing? And to learn more about Class read my articles on What is Class in Horse Racing and how class movements work?.

 

Two more factors are Speed and Pace.  In this article, I will introduce you to the basic concept of Pace.

 

Pace is a pretty straightforward concept.  It simply refers to the rate at which a horse is capable of running. 

There is a lot more to it than that, however, since most horses cannot achieve a uniform Pace throughout a race (and do not necessarily want to anyway).  For this reason, we can talk about Early Pace and Late Pace.  The Early Pace is the rate at which the horse runs over the first half mile in a sprint race or the first three quarters of a mile in a route race.  The Late Pace is conversely the pace at which the horse covers the remaining distance in either type of race.

 

Usually we focus more on Early Pace than we do on Late Pace.  This makes sense when you think about it.  If a horse gets off to a good start, it will improve that horse’s chances.  If a horse gets off to a poor start, it is a lot harder to catch up and come through at the end (though running styles do differ from horse to horse—more on that shortly). 

Early Pace may be classified as either Slow, Normal, or Fast.  The paces that you observe in a given race will reflect both the running styles of the horses on the track and the type of race.  In shorter races you will notice a lot of Slow Early Pace or Fast Early Pace—longer races generally feature more of Normal Early Pace. 

A Normal Early Pace can be considered “neutral” where running styles are concerned; it does not offer any particular advantage to any particular type of runner.  But both Fast and Slow Early Paces favour particular types of running styles and produce problems for others. 

 

Running style is quite a complex topic, so it is something that I will tackle in a separate article.  Not only do different horses favour different running styles, but their running styles may differ from race to race depending on the type of horse race, the running surface, the equipment (blinkers), and even their jockeys and trainers. 

 

The type of running surface may also impact the kind of pacing you see in a race.  Races on dirt for example are typified by a Fast Early Pace and a slower Late Pace.  This is also true on turf when you have a route race - but sprint races on Turf tend to be the exact opposite. 

 

It takes a great deal of focus and attention to detail to really understand how Pace works in a race.  As you can see, there are many subtle nuances which you need to explore before you can utilise it effectively in your betting. 

 

This is one of the reasons that I recommend that you keep a journal while you are wagering.  It isn’t enough to simply write down a basic spreadsheet of information about your wins and losses and the justifications for your bet.  You need a space where you can write down complex observations.  This will allow you to identify patterns over time.  It is the punters who are willing to make this extra effort who get really good at what they do and go on to win time and again.

 

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