Because horse races are run outdoors, the natural elements play an important role in horseracing results. One factor that is often overlooked is the wind. Horses are large and powerful and therefore, many people wonder how something like wind pressure can effect their performance.
To answer that question I will refer you to an old saying about the weight that horses carry. “Enough weight will stop and elephant.” When you consider the fact that races are sometimes decided by as little as a nose or fraction of a second, then anything that can slow a runner down, even a little bit, is important.
In harness horse racing, trotters and pacers that have cover (follow closely behind another horse) have an easier trip and save energy, thereby being able to run faster in the later stages of the race. Savvy handicappers will note horses that raced without cover and bet them if they think they will have cover in their next trip. But even thoroughbreds fare better when they are given a break by having another horse to draft along behind until the final leg of the race.
A horse is a large animal and therefore presents enough area to encounter significant wind resistance. I recently visited a harness track where the wind was blowing up the backstretch at about 30 m.p.h.. The horses ran into that wind as they rounded the turn and the second fraction of the race, the second quarter was noticeably slower. When they rounded the second turn, the wind was at their backs and they sped up again. It was very obvious that the wind was changing the character and pace of the race.
The way to apply that to your handicapping is to be aware of how the wind effects the aces at your local track and to be aware of the wind when it is blowing. If you know that when it blows down the backstretch it slows front runners, make a note of it and use it in your horse racing handicapping. There are days when the wind blows very hard and does have an effect on the outcome of the races and it is one more way you can beat the crowd to the windows to cash your share of winners.