Well, lady4u, as you've witness in the many weeks with us, horse racing is a very unpredictable sport. There's absolutely no certainty or guarantee. There are tools to use, with the past performances being your best bet.
The past performances show us how each horse has performed in the past, and how each of the contenders in that race compare. For example; amount of wins, how often they race, if the horse is going up or down in class, ratings, what tracks they raced at, and at what distance they've won or finished in the money. Also, how they performed against the other horses in the field or of the same class. If they were bred for the distance. Also, their jockey and trainer, ect.. There's a lot of information packed in those past performances. For me, it's all that, and knowing the horses; the way that they act, their form, how their tail is. How their ears point, (are they pricked) and much more.
A horse that has a winning personality is filled with confidence. It's quite amazing to see the excitement in these amazing athletes. Most important thing is to realize these amazing animals are not machines, they have good and bad days just like us. Horse sense will never make sense, lol, so just have fun with it.
You could take some time to learn to read the PP's ( Past Performances) if you want. There's a link that Blue Jay provides us in every race for our convenience. It's really not as hard to understand as it once was. Now they break it down for us along the very the top, for example at the upper far right once in the PP's you see speed at distance which is a good break down of what horses will crossed the finish line in the top positions. Also, at the bottom you will see how they did their last 3 races and so on. Once you get a few winners under your belt you'll love the feeling. Even us top handicappers win some and lose some, it's not called gambling for nothing. Hosting races here is just for fun. In real life betting I know how to bet, and back up my bet! If betting. Betting is not my purpose, it's the love for the sport and horses, and people. Bottom line, learning the moves is key, much like playing chess, there's a strategy, and gut feelings too, where you naturally get better over time.
I hope this helps