Joe and Brian Answer Your Facebook Questions - Vol. 2

Every Monday on the Arlington Park Facebook page at, Daily Herald and Arlington Park handicapper Joe Kristufek and's Brian W. Spencer field questions in the morning, and provide answers in the evening. No matter how simple or how advanced, every question is a good question. Joe and Brian are available every Monday to answer anything you've ever wanted to know about horse racing.

Every other week, we'll reprint some of the best questions here in the Daily Racing Guide. Log on to, ask your question, and come back to the track to see if it wound up in the program!


What is more important, distance or number of turns in regards to handicapping? For example, at AP, a one-mile race is one turn, but add an extra 1/16 and it becomes a two-turn race. - Chris S.

Joe Kristufek: To me, a one-turn mile is an elongated sprint. Many sprinters can stretch out with success, especially non-burners (committed front runners) who employ more of a "stalk and pounce" type style. On the flip side, route (two-turn) horses who are falling just short can be quite dangerous on the cut back to a one-turn mile. They're tactical enough to stay close and have the stamina to finish with the slight cut back in distance and subtraction of a turn. Two-turn races are true routes.

On the "experts' picks" that you guys make on the AP website, your suggested wagers are generally like $2 to win, $5 to place, $10 to show, any particular reason that a wager structured in that manner is more profitable? - Jason R.

Brian W. Spencer: That type of "stacked" wager is basically a way to hedge your bet to give you the best chance of making money. If the horse you're betting wins, then you collect all three wagers, but this way even if your horse runs second or third, you've got a nice chance to turn a tidy little profit. We'll usually suggest styling wagers like that for bigger priced horses who are perhaps less likely to win but may hit the board and return nice prices like $7 to place and $4 to show. Here's an example - some people like to just bet horses to win. Let's say a horse goes off at 5-1 and runs second; someone betting their $17 to win hoping to get $102 back is out of luck. If you've stacked the wager how we suggested and the horse returns $4.80 and $3.00, you get $27 back. Not a huge steal, but you've survived the wager without your horse even having to win and you still turned a profit to roll back on the next horse you really like.

I heard that when a horse runs on Lasix for the first time, they run a little bit faster. Is this true? - Leroyd M.

Joe Kristufek: I wouldn't say Lasix makes horses run faster. What it does do is allow a horse to run up to his or her capabilities. Lasix is an anti-bleeding medication for horses. When horses are running at full speed, the capallaries in their lungs can expand and burst, causing a horse to bleed through the nose or mouth, making it tough to breath. ... Lasix greatly reduces that possibility. If you see that a horse ran an uncommonly bad race, and the next start they return with first time Lasix, there is a very good chance that horse will run much, much better. So yes, first time Lasix is a handicapping angle you must consider.

What is the biggest race that Arlington hosts each year? - Holly L.

Brian W. Spencer: The Arlington Million is the biggest race of the year at Arlington and it's run the same day as the Beverly D. and the Secretariat - those three races cater to different types of horses and they are the only three Grade I events in Illinois every year.