Category Archives: Handicapping Blog

2018 Stakes Review – Jockeys

It was another great year in thoroughbred racing and another year where big data and advanced metrics took further hold in front offices across American sports. Readers of this post likely know that this approach to thoroughbred handicapping arrived a few years ago when Betmix was launched.

The Angler interface is where Betmix users can run their own queries of the vast Betmix database. We decided to use the database to see how jockeys performed in 2018 Stakes races, on dirt and turf, and at varying distances. But first we wanted to take a look at the overall North American Stakes landscape in 2018 compared with 2017:

Anecdotally we know that turf sprint racing in on the rise in North America and our query bears that out. There were 20 more turf sprint stakes run in 2018 than in 2017, an increase of 14%.

So which jockeys performed best in these six Stakes race categories? The visuals below provide the answers.

DIRT

Jockeys by Wins in 2018 Dirt Sprint Stakes (4F - 7.5F)

Jockeys by Wins in 2018 Dirt Middle Distance Stakes (8F - 9F)

Jockeys by Wins in 2018 Dirt Distance Stakes (9.5F +)

TURF

Jockeys by Wins in 2018 Turf Sprints (4F - 7.5F)

Jockeys by Wins in 2018 Turf Middle Distance (8F - 9F)

Jockeys by Wins in 2018 Turf Distance (9.5F +)

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Sharp Angles – Pan Zareta Stakes

Pan Zareta S. at Fair Grounds
5.5F on Turf (January 5)
Horse Racing Data Analyzed: 37 5.5-furlong turf stakes at Fair Grounds
Date Range: January 1, 2012 - Present
Sharp Angle: Ranked 1st in Average of Last 3 Late Pace
Factor Stats: 37 contenders, 13 winners (35%, $35.00 flat win bet return, 147 ROI%), 24 win/place/show (64%, $11.80 flat place bet return & $8.80 flat show bet return)

We first presented this Sharp Angle for the Bonapaw Stakes a few weeks ago in New Orleans and that proved to be beneficial for Betmix handicappers.

The January 5 running of the Pan Zareta Stakes for fillies & mares is run at the same 5.5 furlong distance over the Fair Grounds grass course. The Bonapaw was won by Wynn Time, the second choice at $2.40-1. He's this 13th winner of this racetype to rank first in Average of Last 3 Late Pace and his victory increased the Win Return to a hearty $35.

To find the horse that ranks first in this factor, open Betmix BirdDog and find Race 9 at Fair Grounds for January 5 (top left). Then use the Factor Statistics slider for Average of Last 3 Late Pace to isolate the Sharp Angles contender.

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Sharp Angles – Tropical Park Derby & Oaks

Tropical Park Derby & Tropical Park Oaks at Gulfstream Park
8.5F on Turf (December 29)
Horse Racing Data Analyzed: 40 8.5-furlong turf stakes for 3-year-olds at Gulfstream Park
Date Range: January 1, 2012 - Present
Sharp Angle: Ranked 1st in Average Turf Earnings
Factor Stats: 39 contenders, 13 winners (33%, $71.40 flat win bet return, 191 ROI%), 18 win/place (46%, $12.20 flat place bet return)

The December 29 Tropical Park Derby and Tropical Park Oaks drew full fields of runners looking to take advantage of one last chance to earn blacktype versus fellow 3-year-olds. Consequently, both races offer tremendous wagering opportunities. With that in mind we used the Betmix Angler handicapping software to look for the most predictive factors in 8.5 furlong grass stakes for 3-year-olds at the Hallandale, Florida oval.

Average Turf Earnings appears to be the key to this race type, producing a 33% win rate and an exceptional $70 win return. Just two years ago the winners of both those races ranked first in this factor - Giant Run, the $19.80 winner of the Derby and Ultra Brat, who lit up the board in the Oaks with a $75.40 win mutuel.

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Sharp Angles – Bonapaw Stakes

Bonapaw S. at Fair Grounds
5.5F on Turf (December 22)
Horse Racing Data Analyzed: 36 5.5-furlong turf stakes at Fair Grounds
Date Range: January 1, 2012 - Present
Sharp Angle: Ranked 1st in Average of Last 3 Late Pace
Factor Stats: 36 contenders, 12 winners (33%, $30.20 flat win bet return, 141 ROI%), 23 win/place/show (63%, $9.40 flat place bet return & $7.40 flat show bet return)

The Bonapaw Stakes is one of six blacktype offerings on the December 22 Fair Grounds card and the race has drawn a field nine turf sprinters. Using the Betmix Angler handicapping software we've isolated a key factor in the 5.5 furlong grass stakes at the New Orleans oval.

Late speed appears to be the key with runners ranking 1st in Average of Last 3 Late Pace scoring a third of the time. 11 more contenders have hit the board triggering positive place and show bet returns.

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Pedigree Handicapping – 2YO Distance Sires

There have been a little over 500 North American races for juveniles going 8 furlongs or longer in 2018. Pedigree can be a prime factor in determining which horses are likely to excel when released from sprint compeition. Luckily the Betmix Angler handicapping software provides Betmix handicappers the option of analyzing sire performance.

The charts below show some of the top active sires by 2YO distance Win % and 2YO distance Win Return.

Juveniles by the great Ashford Stud stallion Uncle Mo should definitely be given a long look when stretching out. His progeny have won at a strong 27% clip in 2018 posting positive returns across the board.

The first crop sire Cairo Prince, based at Airdrie Stud, is another to watch when his sons & daughters get added distance. He's tied with Kitten's Joy with 65 2YO distance starts, an indication that trainer's feel comfortable sending his progeny long. Five of his 11 2YO distance winners have paid double digits, including Silent Surprise who lived up to her name with a $50-1 victory in an 8.5F turf Maiden Special contest at the Keeneland Fall meeting.

WinStar Farm's Paynter is another whose Win Return figure got a big boost this autumn at Keenelend when his juvenile son Knicks Go sprang the 70-1 upset in the Breeders' Futurity. He has six other 2YO distance winners in 2018, all but one also paying double digits. So longshot players might want to be on the look out as the sons and daughters of the 2012 Haskell Inv. (G1) winner/Belmont Stakes (G1) runner-up stretch out.

2018 2YO Sires by Distance Win % (for races at 8-furlongs or longer)

2018 2YO Sires by Distance Win Return (for races at 8-furlongs or longer)

 

Sharp Angles – Miss America S.

Miss America S. at Golden Gate Fields (2 divisions)
8.5F on Turf (December 8)
Horse Racing Data Analyzed: 17 8.5-furlong turf stakes at Golden Gate
Date Range: January 1, 2012 - Present
Sharp Angle: Ranked 1st in Win %
Factor Stats: 17 contenders, 6 winners (35%, $37.60 flat win bet return, 210 ROI%), 11 win/place/show (64%, $25.60 flat place bet return & $14.30 flat show bet return)

The Miss America Stakes at Golden Gate Fields drew an overflow field that led track officials to split the race into two divisions. This could be a very good thing for Betmix users. After a scan of the BirdDog online handicapping software we found that horses ranking 1st in Win % have done extremely well in 8.5 turf stakes at the Bay Area track.

It's easy to intuit that consistently winning horses won't offer generous payouts so we were surprised to find that this Angle has produced exceptional win, place and show returns. Coachwhip, the 16-1 runner up in last year's Miss America, is one of three straight qualifiers who've finished 1st or 2nd in this race type.

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Sharp Angles – Go For Wand H. & Cigar Mile H.

Go For Wand H. & Cigar Mile H. at Aqueduct
8F on Dirt (December 1)
Horse Racing Data Analyzed: 24 8-furlong graded dirt stakes at Aqueduct
Date Range: January 1, 2012 - Present
Sharp Angle: Ranked in Top 3 Days Since Last Race & 1st in In The Money %
Factor Stats: 18 contenders, 6 winners (33%, $68.00 flat win bet profit, 288 ROI%), 10 win/place/show ($25.20 flat place bet return & $7.50 flat show bet return)

NYRA hosts its last big race card of the year on Saturday, December 1. The four-stakes menu is anchored by the Grade 1 Cigar Mile and also features the Grade 2 Go For Wand H. for the distaffers going a flat mile. A scan of the Betmix Angler handicapping software reveals that recency and consistency have been strong indicators in the 8-furlong graded races on the Aqueduct main track. The final formula reads: rank among the top 3 in Days Since Last Race along with showing first in In The Money %.

Of the 18 runners in this race type who've qualified, one third have found the winner's circle producing a very generous $68 flat win bet profit. Four more contenders have hit the board sparking very good place bet ($25.20) and show bet ($7.50) returns.

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Sharp Angles – Oakland S.

Oakland S. at Golden Gate Fields
6F on All-Weather (November 17)
Horse Racing Data Analyzed: 30 6-furlong main track stakes at Golden Gate
Date Range: January 1, 2012 - Present
Sharp Angle: Ranked 1st in Last Turn Time
Factor Stats: 40 contenders, 11 winners (27%, $46.80 flat win bet profit, 158 ROI%), 18 win/place (45%, $4.30 flat place return)

The Oakland Stakes, Saturday's feature at Golden Gate Fields has drawn a healthy field of nine older male sprinters. Using the Betmix Angler Handicapping software to analyze the past 30 sprint stakes at the Northern California oval we found that Last Turn Time has been a very positive factor for this race type.

11 of the 40 contenders ranking first Last Turn Time have had their pictures taken and this factor appears to be on an upward trajectory with Tribal Storm taking the Lost in the Fog Stakes earlier this year at 20-1.

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Sharp Angles – Richard W. Small S.

Richard W. Small S. at Laurel
8F on Dirt (November 10)
Horse Racing Data Analyzed: 31 9-furlong dirt stakes at Laurel
Date Range: January 1, 2012 - Present
Sharp Angle: Ranked 1st in Last Late Pace
Factor Stats: 34 contenders, 12 winners (35%, $58.60 flat win bet profit, 186 ROI%), 15 win/place (44%, $10.90 flat place return)

The two-day Breeders' Cup extravaganza has come and gone but there is a still a wealth of stakes action across the country this weekend, including a five-stakes Saturday card at Laurel Park. The $100,000 Richard W. Small Stakes is one of those and it's drawn an overflow field of 15 older males.

When tough races like this arise it's wise to turn to the Betmix Handicapping software. Looking at the last 31 9-furlong dirt stakes at Laurel we find that Last Late Pace has pointed to 12 winners that have produced a very healthy Win Return of $58.60. Among the winners is Afleet Willy, who found the winner's circle in this race last year at an $8.60 win mutuel

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Sharp Angles – Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint & Turf Sprint

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint & Turf Sprint
5.5F on Turf
Horse Racing Data Analyzed: 141 turf sprints at Churchill Downs
Date Range: January 1, 2012 - Present
Sharp Angle: Ranked 1st in Avg. Last 3 E1 Pace
Factor Stats: 149 contenders, 34 winners (22%, $30,60 Win Return), 60 Win/Place (40% $3.20 Place Return)

Turf Sprints have grown in number at North American tracks in recent years and there are now a pair of Breeders' Cup contests for the speedy turfers - Friday's inaugural Juvenile Turf Sprint and Saturday's Turf Sprint. Both races will be contested at 5.5F over the Churchill Downs turf course.

We have a good-sized sample of 141 turf sprints to analyze in the Betmix Angler handicapping software and we found a profitable angle for this race type. Average of Last 3 E1 Pace turns out to be a solid predictor of success with a 22% Win% and a sparkling $30.60 Win Return. The 40% total Win/Place rate also indicates this Factor is a good place to start when looking for a horse to key in these always competitive races.

Another resource for handicapping North American turf sprints is the May 31 Pedigree Handicapping analysis of turf sprint sires.

Best of luck on Breeders Cup weekend!

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