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Monday, November 2, 2009

Capping the BC is a synch..Part Deux

We've had the calculator out this week to do a little data mining to help with our weekend investing. Last year we analyzed in a post for the Blood-horse how the Pro Ride was playing during the Oak Tree meet leading up to the Breeders' Cup Championships (did I miss a word there?). Since the results were pretty compelling last year we decided to see if anything popped after 24 days of racing (through last Friday 10/30) that could give us a hint of things to come over the coming weekend.

As we did last year we garnered the data from the official charts and looked at several factors: (a) how are the favorites faring; (b) what type of horse was winning: Wire to wire, Closer or Stalker; (c) cut the data between sprints (less than a mile) and routes (mile and longer) and: (d) post positions. We also compared the results to last year's data for reference. Items (a), (b) and (c) are shown in the chart below:

One telling statistic, is that during the 24 days (compared to 22 in 2008) there is almost one less starter in the gate during the meet at Oak Tree. Another item to note is that most of the races being run were sprints (70%). As a west coaster said to me one late night at Siro's during the Spa meet, they call it the "666" track....six starters going six furlong and the longest shot is 6-1. At the time I thought he was just kidding around, but jeez it seems to come to bear above.

So what did we learn? Favorites have been winning at a 38.5% clip, even higher in the sprint races. Also, it appears that stalkers (those horses second, third or fourth at 1st call) seem to winning at a much higher pace than closers in both the sprint and route races.

How about post positions. Last year we noted that the rail was pretty dead and the middle posts (particularly post #5) had a better win %. Here's what the 2009 OSA meet has yielded from the different posts:

This year the inside posts aren't as dead as they were in 2008, but the later post positions (6-9) have been fairly successful. Take a look at last year's post positions and where they were at first call of last year's Breeders' Cup champs on the Pro Ride:

F&M Sprint: Ventura, Post 12, First Call: 11 (Closer)
Juvenile Fillies: Stardom Bound, Post 10, First Call: 12 (Closer)
Ladies Classic: Zenyatta, Post 1, First Call: 8 (Closer)
Marathon: Muhannak (Ire), Post 5, First Call: 4 (Stalker)
Dirt Mile: Albertus Maximus, Post 7, First Call: 10 (Closer)
Juvenile: Midshipman, Post 11, First Call: 2 (Stalker)
Sprint: Midnight Lute, Post 4, First Call: 8 (Closer)
Classic: Raven's Pass, Post 8, First Call: 10 (Closer)

So in 6 of the 8 races last year, a Closer (and each of the six winners were 8th or worse at first call) won its respective Championship race. The outside posts also won the majority of the Pro Ride races also. The overall stats are very comparable to 2008 through the first 24 race dates, although the sprinters seem to favor closers more than the route races. Will this hold up again in 2009?


The Turk said...

I just finished crunching my own numbers. My opinion is that the Oak Tree Meet stats can mislead because the quality of horses running in the majority of races during that short meet is mostly uncomparable to the "top to bottom" of the field quality racing horses this weekend. Even post position in my opinion is misleading, as a superior horse will overcome.

There will be some big payouts this weekend because of the uncertainty, that's what excites me the most!

Have fun Geno.

Geno said...

Turk: Thanks for chiming in. I don't disagree that you need to take these statistics for what they are...statistics. Trying to derive conclusions and theories from them is the difficulty. The analysis did not take into account weather, which can also affect the Pro Ride (so I'm told). We do have the opportunity of a consecutive year meet, so looking back on last year's analysis did provide some clues.

Always appreciate your thoughts. Best of luck on the weekend!


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