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How to Handicap Greyhounds at Derby Lane

By John Lindell

Derby Lane Greyhound Park in St. Petersburg, Florida, is one of the nation's oldest dog tracks, featuring the best talent on the oval. Handicapping Derby Lane greyhounds can be a challenge, since the level of competition is such that there are few dogs in each race that don't have a legitimate chance. These tips should give you a better understanding of how to handicap Derby Lane.

Concentrate on the lower grade races. Derby Lane's top grade greyhounds are as competitive as any venue's in the world. Handicapping the lead consistently in these affairs is a chore. But you can figure out who is going to the front much more often in the lower grade events. Once you have this first piece of the puzzle in place, you may be able to put together the rest of the picture well enough to make a score.

Keep track of which kennels are hot. If you are serious about your handicapping you need to subscribe to Rosnet, an Internet site that allows you to view Derby Lane's previous races, race programs and up-to-date statistics concerning the kennel standings and post position results. The Derby Lane site has kennel standings, but they are for the year-to-date only and do not reflect which kennels are winning races at a good clip and which are not (see Resources below).

Rely on the stars. Derby Lane has some great and outstanding greyhounds competing in Grade A, especially over the 550-yard distance. Don't try to handicap a race they are in intent on finding a chink in their armor. Instead, try to come up with what will run behind these standouts and make plays that make sense.

Try the trifectas. Derby Lane handles more money--live and through simulcasting off-track--than any dog track in the United States. This means that there is often well over $20,000 in the trifecta pools on many nights. More money in these pools means bigger payoffs, especially when the longshots hit the ticket.

Watch the opening odds. Do this to find out what the public, including those that wager on Derby Lane on a regular basis, think of certain dogs. Use this tool for instance to gauge the chances of a dog that to you looks off form but is dropping down into a lesser field. If its odds are low to begin with and stay there, it might be wise to pay attention to that racer.

Avoid greyhounds making their first start in Grade A. It is so very tough in with the elite at Derby Lane that handicappers will "throw out' dogs that are making their initial venture into the A ranks. At many tracks a dog that is advancing up the ladder can compete right away in with the top guns, but at Derby Lane there is a learning curve that only the really great ones need not worry about.

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