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The Skeptical Handicapper: Using Data and Brains to Win at t

The Skeptical Handicapper: Using Data and Brains to Win at t

Isn’t it about time you had the facts you need to win at the racetrack?

 Not just opinion—facts.  For instance: 

  • Is betting a horse who was claimed last start a winning strategy?
  • How about if you look for class droppers who are switching jockeys?
  • Should you wager on every horse who won last out by 8 lengths or more?
  • If you combine first-time Lasix with early speed last race, what happens?
  • What if you bet every 2-year-old debuter whose last work was a 5-furlong bullet?

Barry Meadow has the answers.  In his new 445-page hardcover book, The Skeptical Handicapper: Using Data and Brains to Win at the Racetrack, he’ll show you what he’s uncovered from analyzing the results of every race run in the U.S. and Canada between 2014 and 2017, a total of 168,227 races.

Meadow spent more than twenty years playing the thoroughbreds full-time.  And what he’s found—from his own successful gambling, and with a study of dozens of handicapping factors based on research he conducted with the help of thoroughbred analytic specialist Ken Massa—is sure to make a powerful difference in your game.

There’s nothing else like it on the market.  What is winning today?  And what can help you win today?   It’s all here.

Thirty years ago, Meadow wrote Money Secrets at the Racetrack, lauded as the definitive guide to money management at the track.  Now, finally, he’s written a handicapping book—and not just any book, but the culmination of years of playing and researching what really works:

  • When should you play against a high-figure horse?
  • Can you make money by calculating earnings per start?
  • How do trainers fit into the picture?
  • On favorites, does the jockey’s win percentage going into the race matter?
  • What is the most important element in handicapping turf sprints?

It’s all here.  And whether you’re a newcomer to horse racing, or you’ve been playing the game for decades, there’s plenty of strong information that will help you improve your racetrack results.  If you’re serious about winning at the races today, this is the one book you must have.

Winning at the racetrack, however you define it, is neither easy nor a sure thing. But before you can think about winning, you need to learn which handicapping strategies are valuable, and which ones aren't. The Skeptical Handicapper: Using Data and Brains to Win at the Racetrack examines both popular and little-known angles to see what really works at the pari-mutuel windows. Author Barry Meadow, who wrote Money Secrets at the Racetrack, became an authority on the subject not simply by writing about it, but by playing the races full-time for decades as his major source of income. With the help of thoroughbred analytic researcher Ken Massa, Meadow checks out what happened in every race run in the U.S. and Canada between 2014 and 2017, more than 168,000 races in all. What if you had bet every first-time Lasix horse who was in the top three at the first call in his most recent start? Or followed each horse handled by a trainer-jockey combination with more than 20% wins if the horse showed the fastest first quarter last time out? Or played every 2-year-old first-time starter whose last workout was a 5-furlong bullet? This book answers these and many other handicapping problems. Your game is sure to improve by asking the key questions that Meadow raises and answers in this book. He shows you how to use both the data and your brain to profit in this most challenging of arenas.

Mike Brunker of the Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote this:  "I thought the golden age of handicapping books had ended some time ago, but I'm delighted to report that I was wrong.  Barry Meadow's new tome The Skeptical Handicapper is an instant classic, marrying a deep data dive with a thorough exploration of the mental makeup required to be a winning player."  And here's a note from one of the many 5-star reviews we've received on Amazon:  "I've read a lot of handicapping books.  In fact, I'd be surprised if somebody could name one I haven't read.  This is the only one I should have ever bought.  Meadow is a legend...I hate statistics, but this thing was downright entertaining.  Just buy it."

Click to read the introduction

Editorial Reviews


There are things in here that are just amazing. This one is going to be an ongoing resource and a tremendous service to players. It should be an automatic addition to anyone who s serious about the game. -- --Steve Byk, host of the podcast At The Races

Barry Meadow has written the best and most comprehensive book on thoroughbred handicapping in recent memory and maybe ever. This is an entertaining read that is interesting enough from beginning to end to be gobbled up by any true racing and wagering enthusiast looking for an edge. -- --Noel Michaels, author of The Handicapping Contest Handbook

In his excellent new book, Barry Meadow offers a stark assessment of the challenges facing horse bettors in the age of algorithms, and solid data on what approaches still work despite the ever-tougher competition. But of equal value, at least, is Meadow s explanation of the thought process that enables the insightful handicapper to put those figures into the proper context for each individual race. --Mike Brunker, horse racing columnist, Las Vegas Review-Journal

About the Author

Barry Meadow has been on a dual track--gambling, and writing about gambling--for more than 50 years. His first book, Success At The Harness Races, was published in 1967, when he was still too young to legally bet on the races at his favorite tracks, Yonkers and Roosevelt, although that didn't stop him. For five years in the 1980s, he gambled full-time on the harness races in California. This led to his writing Professional Harness Betting, a 300-page manual which explains how to become a full-time professional player. With far bigger pools available at the thoroughbreds, he decided to switch to the runners. And while making that transition, he wrote Money Secrets at the Racetrack, which has been lauded by virtually every expert as the definitive guide to money management at the track. He also launched Master Win Ratings, a service that rated every California horse and which he produced until his retirement in 2011. For seven years, from November 1996 through October 2003, he published Meadow's Racing Monthly, an award-winning handicapping and money-management newsletter. It featured articles on how to make the most money at the track, investigative exposes about the handicapping world, original statistical research, and systems tests from a large computer database. He also authored a number of handicapping booklets, including Secrets of the Pick 6 and Players Guide to Nevada Racebooks. He also found time to write Blackjack Autumn, the humorous and exciting story of his two-month quest to play blackjack in every casino in Nevada. More recently, he wrote a column from 2004 through 2017 for American Turf Monthly, and remains a frequent contributor to the Horseplayers Association of North America magazine. Meadow was a speaker at every Handicapping Expo since 1990 and was a member of the NTRA Players Panel. He's testified as a players' advocate on several issues before the California Horse Racing Board, and was part of the negotiating team which helped bring the low-takeout Players Pick 5 to the state. He was featured in the 2007 documentary, Players: The Blue Collar Gambler. In 2014, he won the inaugural Ron Rippey Award for Handicapping Media for the best published article about handicapping. His eclectic resume also includes serving in Vietnam, writing television sitcoms, playing professional tennis in India, and doing standup comedy in California.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 445 pages
  • Publisher: TR Publishing; First edition (March 25, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0945322046
  • ISBN-13: 978-0945322047
  • Package Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds

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