August 10, 2022

The Art of the Tout: My Goals for Handicapping Every Keeneland Race

I handicap a lot of races, but I’ve never handicapped a full meeting.

That changes this month when I join Keeneland Race Course’s roster of “experts” and pick every race.

Of course, I’ll be using handicapping products to pick winners. I also avail myself to pace-adjusted performance figures, Optix equine analytics data, and Ragozin Sheets when making my final determinations.

What I really want to talk about, though, is my approach to picking horses. The age-old tout question when giving free picks and having to handicap every race is what’s more important: winners or ROI?

Both are important, of course, but with picks due 48 hours before the races, I put more an onus on picking winners than finding value. It’s hard enough handicapping who will win the race let alone how it will get bet. I am comfortable adjusting my plays based on information known in the final hour before a race that wasn’t available when I make my picks on, but when it comes to measuring myself against my peers my goal is to pick the most winners.

That said, just identifying the favorite is enough to pick the most winners. There’s no value in wagering or to the user in doing that, so we’re definitely looking to find the logical $10, $20, even $50 winners. One part of my style is that if I don’t like an obvious favorite then I’m unlikely to list him/her anywhere on my picks. What’s the point in liking an even money shot for 2nd? As a multi-race player, if I identify a vulnerable favorite I’d rather shed some light on the logical upsetters than write about why the overbet chalk is still the 3rd likeliest winner.

And in addition to checking out my picks, follow me on Twitter @EJXD2 for real-time insight, and also be sure to check out the great promos at, including our Shoulda Had That promo where you can get paid on your exacta bets as if you hit the tri and/or super!