December 19, 2022 | By Jeremy Plonk/
Originally published on

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.


Seven furlongs is a specialist’s distance.


Handicappers often claim that 7-furlong dirt races, the elongated sprint if you will, are races where horses who perform often and well at 7 furlongs, are preferred.

Data Points:

I fired up the Betmix database to look at all 7-furlong main track races in North America this year. I wanted to see if horses who ran shorter, longer or the same had any statistical advantage.


7-furlong starters who last raced less than 7 furlongs won 13.1% with a $0.72 ROI for every $1 bet.

7-furlong starters who last raced more than 7 furlongs won 12.8% with a $0.71 ROI for every $1 bet.

7-furlong starters who last raced exactly 7 furlongs won 14.7% with a $0.81 ROI for every $1 bet.

Bottom line:

No doubt the horses coming out of 7-furlong races had more success, winning 1.6-1.9% higher and posting an ROI $.09-$.10 more. I found interesting that horses exiting top-3 finishes at 7 furlongs last time jump to nearly 17% wins. The old adage of cut-back horses excelling at 7 furlongs is debunked with those horses performing worst of all. To compare, at 6 furlongs, horses going the same distance as last time win 13.9%, compared to 13.6% for those adding distance (much closer to the identical influence). Note the cut-backs win 12.7% at 6 furlongs.

Additional details:

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, check out the results for your favorite or local track. Or, see which trainers do best at 7 furlongs with the various prep distance moves.