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Laurel Park’s Gabby Gaudet Offers Handicapping Tips

Laurel Park’s Gabby Gaudet Offers Handicapping Tips: Twenty-four year old Gabby Gaudet continues in her role as racing analyst for Laurel Park and Pimlico Racecourse, both part of the Maryland Jockey Club. In addition, her impressive recent resume includes work at the Breeders’ Cup, Arlington International Racecourse and HRTV.

Gabby Gaudet

“As a person, you’re always changing and evolving. Same goes for handicapping,” Gaudet explained. “I find myself paying more attention to patterns and trying to learn more about international and physical handicapping.”
Photo: Baltimore Sun photo by Lloyd Fox

On Saturday, Laurel Park will run the 24th Frank J. De Francis Dash Memorial, a former graded stakes race currently run at six furlongs. Recently through written messages, Gaudet shared some thoughts on handicapping, Laurel Park, her start as a racing journalist, sexism (if any) and fashion. She believes there has been a growth in how she approaches races.

“As a person, you’re always changing and evolving. Same goes for handicapping,” Gaudet explained. “I find myself paying more attention to patterns and trying to learn more about international and physical handicapping.”

Like most bettors, Gaudet finds two specific kinds of races most challenging.

“Lower level claiming and maiden races, mainly because of the lack of consistency in form,” she admitted.

Is there a different approach to looking at sprint or route races? Gaudet thinks it depends on a number of factors.

“There are so many different situations,” she described. “Is it a 2-year-old race or older horses? Turf or dirt? What does the breeding suggest? Which trainers are stronger at preparing their horses for sprints and vice versa?”

“The list can go on and on.”

The wide majority of handicappers utilize speed figures in all kinds of races to know which horses are faster. Gaudet offered her opinion on their usefulness.

“Sometimes (I use them),” she revealed. “I do take them into consideration and reference them because it gives you a good idea of the fastest horse in the race, the class, etc., but I also like to watch (a lot) of replays and dig up interesting or obscure stats.”

In addition, Gaudet analyzes horses up close before races to get a better feel for their preparedness. Understanding physical handicapping tends to elude the majority of racing fans, especially those without a horse background. For certain races, the practice is more valuable.

“Obviously physical handicapping is more relevant to certain races than others – a 2-year-old maiden special weight versus a $5,000 claiming race, for example,” Gaudet wrote. “However, it’s always helpful to get a good look at the field (to know) which horse looks the best from an overall perspective and … as it pertains to the race conditions.”

On-track attendance at racetracks is dwindling these days, which prevents most bettors from checking the horses in the saddling paddock. Gaudet encourages racing fans to attend Laurel Park though.

“The renovations that have been made over the past months are truly a thing to see for yourself,” Gaudet described. “There are so many options now for places to eat, bet and just enjoy the races. Great weather, big fields, good race cards. Tons of reasons (to attend)!”

She recalled the special feeling in her first De Francis Memorial Dash as an on-track reporter.

The first year I worked the Dash is my favorite,” Gaudet recalled about the 2013 edition. “Immortal Eyes won in 2013 and … everyone was so happy and really emotional about the win. Those are the kind of moments you always remember.”

Before working for the Maryland Jockey Club, Gaudet wrote for The Saratoga Special and gained a lot from the experience.

I learned that you just have to ‘land the plane,’ Gaudet wrote, on her time spent as an intern. “You’re tired, running on empty, you don’t think you can write one more sentence, but you just have to do it.”

“There were times I was uncomfortable or nervous to interview people but you still just have to do it.”

When asked whether she feels any sexism in her role, Gaudet simply replied that doing her job will take care of everything.

“If I know I’m well prepared and give viewers useful, insightful information, I’m doing my job,” she explained. “In any sense, I mostly focus on those who are able to give me constructive criticism and help in some positive way.”

Gaudet also offered a few words on fashion at the racetrack.

“I love when I go to the races and see men dressed in nice hats and bow ties, and the ladies in beautiful hats and dresses,” Gaudet wrote. “It adds to the atmosphere and pageantry of the sport.”

While finding trustworthy public handicappers can be difficult, Gaudet comes off as very knowledgeable and should find further success as her career progresses.

To follow Gabby Gaudet on social media, click on www.twitter.com/Gabby_Gaudet_.

The De Francis Memorial Dash includes former stakes winners Palace, Gentlemen’s Bet, Trouble Kid and Stallwalkin’ Dude, among others. For more information, read the news section on Laurel Park’s website at www.laurelpark.com/race-info/news.

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