November 22, 2021 | By Jeremy Plonk/www.horseplayernow.com
Originally published on www.xpressbet.com
Welcome to a continuing handicapping series for our Monday blog space, “Monday Myths.” Each week I’ll use the power of the Betmix database to take common handicapping assumptions and either support or dispel them with data. Betmix data powers the 1/ST BET app and its features like Angler and Birddog give data-minded horseplayers a treasure trove of information in which to query your own curiosities.
Maiden claiming races are the most unpredictable, and therefore are the most likely spread races in multi-race bets.
Crack open the past performances, and you’re sure to see a full-field maiden claiming race at Anytrack USA. Venues are overflowing with maidens, and the lower-level runners all are looking for a place to graduate against other unsuccessful sorts. Many horseplayers frown at these races for a perceived lack of predictability that goes with their poor form and apparent lack of deserving trust. But are maiden claiming races the most likely for upset and most vulnerable?
I dialed up the Betmix database to look at all races run in 2021 through November 21. I specifically categorized them by race class to see which had the most trustworthy favorites, the most logical average winning price and the most likelihood for longshot winners (10-1 or more). In order to compare for field size impact, the comparisons are for identical fields of 10 runners -- a key component to this study.
In 2021, maiden claiming races had an average winner at 5.87-1 odds.
In 2021, maiden special weight races had an average winner at 6.62-1 odds.
In 2021, claiming races had an average winner at 6.72-1 odds.
In 2021, allowance races had an average winner at 6.31-1 odds.
In 2021, stakes races had an average winner at 6.53-1 odds.
In 2021, maiden claiming favorites won 33.6% with a $0.85 ROI for every $1 bet.
In 2021, maiden special weight favorites won 34.7% with a $0.89 ROI for every $1 bet.
In 2021, claiming favorites won 31.6% with a $0.82 ROI for every $1 bet.
In 2021, allowance favorites won 28.8% with a $0.79 ROI for every $1 bet.
In 2021, stakes favorites won 37.7% with a $0.93 ROI for every $1 bet.
In 2021 maiden claiming races, horses 10-1 or more odds had a 2.7% win rate.
In 2021 maiden special weight races, horses 10-1 or more odds had a 3.0% win rate.
In 2021 claiming races, horses 10-1 or more odds had a 3.5% win rate.
In 2021 allowance races, horses 10-1 or more odds had a 3.2% win rate.
In 2021 stakes, horses 10-1 or more odds had a 2.5% win rate.
Maiden claiming races have had the lowest average odds for winners among all race classes this year when all races are adjusted for field size of 10. The gap is .44 points lower than allowance races, which is second-lowest and as much as .85 points compared to claiming races, the highest. Of the 5 classes, maiden claiming favorites fell right in the middle at third-highest in terms of win rate and ROI for betting on them. Maiden claiming races were second-least likely for longshot winners at 10-1 or more at .2 percent behind stakes races.
Claiming and allowance races both are clearly less predictable overall than maiden claiming races when searching the race conditions for ‘spread’ races. Their winners pay more on average, their favorites win less often, and their longshots strike at a significantly higher rate. The assumption that maiden claiming races invite chaos is false based on this year’s numbers nationally.
You can go into Betmix and run your own queries for a deeper dive into this theory and any that you can create. For instance, how does your favorite track stack up with the national average? Do these numbers shift between turf, dirt and synthetic surfaces?