Jockey Analytics at Fonner Park, Part 5: Manrrique, McNeil and McNeil

On Tuesday, I put together an index of the Jockey Analytics articles and it’s really helping me understand Fonner Park results. Knowing not only the statistical tendencies of the jockeys, but also knowing something of their personal stories does improve my handicapping. I have a better idea of who’s on an upward trajectory, who’s passing through, and who’s just hoping to get by. When Dakota Wood swept forward twice to nearly win a couple of races Tuesday, it meant more to me than just the risk of losing my unimpressive Pick 5 (it paid all of $44.25). That was reinforced when he brought home FIVE winners Wednesday.

Top performer returns from suspension: Freddy Jose Manrrique

Freddy Manrrique had a slow start to his career as a jockey, but he built up to respectability. Just an average performance, but with his increasing number of mounts, higher winnings each year. Each year at Fonner Park, he got better, moving near the top in wins and winning percentage. In 2020, he’s winning a quarter of the races he starts. Unfortunately, he was suspended for “violations concerning a controlled substance” on March 13th. So, he’d only started 61 races and, thus, only secured $82,360 in purses. Wednesday was his first day back, and he was winless in four starts.

His chart leans toward established styles and is light on the number of routes. His five-year numbers on routes are not good anyway – with Sustained being the only one that makes average (12%). When we isolate Dirt Sprints to just Fonner Park in 2020, his numbers explode (15 for 61). The 67% in Sustained in Dirt Sprints is 4 of 6.

Running StyleDirt SprintsDirt Routes
Overallat Fonner Park
Early15%23%0%
Early/Presser12%20%0%
Presser20%33%25%
Sustained/Presser3%8%0%
Sustained23%67%14%
All12%24.5%6%

These are not the droids you’re looking for – Erik McNeil

When perusing the form at Fonner Park, it’s very important to make a note of which McNeil is riding. Erik is the younger, less accomplished brother. The father, Tony McNeil, was about average as a young jockey, but was very good when he returned after 10 years off (career-ending injury that became career-interrupting injury instead). Erik hasn’t gotten quite to average. Having ridden the Texas-Oklahoma circuit without notable success, Erik isn’t getting good mounts at Fonner Park. He has won a couple of races aboard Spotitude for Richard Dean Bliss (see the 14% SDS) but has been unremarkable otherwise. (1 for 44 on routes, 1 for 6 PDR)

Running StyleDirt SprintsDirt Routes
Early9%0%
Early/Presser7%0%
Presser8%17%
Sustained/Presser3%0%
Sustained14%0%
All8%2%

Big brother with mediocre runners not winning – Bryan McNeil

Aboard a reasonably good horse, Bryan McNeil is an above average jockey. Aboard longshots, has-beens and never-was mounts, McNeil is having a terrible spring. Without the reputation that carried Francisco Arrieta into the hearts of local trainers and without the local connections and history of Jake Olesiak, he simply doesn’t get the best horses. This has to have been a frustarting meet for the elder McNeil. Bryan had 8 mounts last week (8-0-2-0) and has none today. I expect he’ll enjoy getting out of Nebraska.

Running StyleDirt SprintsDirt Routes
Early16%0%
Early/Presser10%16%
Presser8%0%
Sustained/Presser5%0%
Sustained0%14%
All9%13%

Jockey Analytics at Fonner Park: Index

Since there are multiple articles, I thought it useful to provide an index, with the tag lines for each jockey.

Jockey Analytics at Fonner Park, Part 4: Olesiak, Haar and Journet

Yesterday, I needed Jake Olesiak to have a good day in order for me to hit the early Pick 5 at Fonner Park. Three of his mounts were in my Pick 5, including a single in the first race. He had an average day (7-1-1-1, 14% win, 42% ITM), though the win was on my single. He was in the mix, but unable to finish in final leg, ending up 3rd. So, he’s our first study today.

Once dominant, still good: Jake Olesiak

For many years, the Olesiak brothers dominated Nebraska racing. Both Jake and his brother Jordan won the jockey title numerous times. Jake’s been above average to excellent for 15 years. Yet, he seems to be slipping down toward average on Sustained and Sustained Pressers of late. This could be a statistical anomaly or indicate a new trend. He’s still amazing with an Early running style in Dirt Sprints, so you definitely need to keep him in mind. (Once again, routes are a small sample size, so may not be real helpful.)

Running StyleDirt SprintsDirt Routes
Early24%50%
Early/Presser14%15%
Presser17%0%
Sustained/Presser7%11%
Sustained13%33%
All17%17%

Do injuries lead to social distancing? Nathan Haar

Nathan Haar returned to Fonner Park after skipping 2019 here, but has been beset by injuries the last few years. He finished third in the standings at Fonner in 2017, but had his 2018 meet ruined by injury. He was able to recover and win the jockey title at Arapahoe later that year, then had another injury frustrate his efforts in 2019. In the last 12 months, he does best when in a defined style.

Running StyleDirt SprintsDirt Routes
Early16%0%
Early/Presser1%14%
Presser15%0%
Sustained/Presser6%0%
Sustained20%0%
All9%8%

I decided to check his five–year performance to see if I found any trends and … of course there are. He’s reasonable at routes overall, but far better when either going early or closing late. Perhaps his injuries give him a mental block when he’s running in traffic. Pressers win about 18% of races, so even in sprints, he’s below the average. His Early and Sustained numbers are above the average, so the pattern holds.

Running StyleDirt SprintsDirt Routes
Early17%22%
Early/Presser11%14%
Presser15%3%
Sustained/Presser10%7%
Sustained19%20%

Cajun’s path derailed: Jarred Journet

Jarred Journet “earned his first Keeneland victory Wednesday (10 October 2019) when he piloted 52-1 longshot Small Town Hero to win the second race by a neck.” The young rider seemed to following in the footsteps of several other jockeys from Cajun country in Louisiana to the top ranks of horseracing. Then, he was relegated to Delta Downs and Evangeline Downs in 2019, before turning up in Nebraska for this meet.

As an apprentice, he had that little bug and his mount carried less weight. So, he was more than competitive. He was a little above average. That didn’t carry forward when he lost the bug. When he returned to Delta and Evangeline, he sunk way down. He was terrible.

Has he been better at Fonner? Slightly. He hurts you a little, but not much. He did run on late to place with ReversalOfFortune in the 5th yesterday. Perhaps if he’d started the move a little earlier, he might have bagged his 8th win of the meet.

While I wish him well as he continues his career, I’d advise caution when he’s aboard, with the exception of Early running style in a dirt sprint.

Running StyleDirt SprintsDirt Routes
Early18%0%
Early/Presser3%5%
Presser14%0%
Sustained/Presser2%0%
Sustained0%14%
All9%8%

Jockey Analytics at Fonner Park, Part 3: Martinez, Martinez and Fackler

Continuing our study of the jockey colony currently serving Fonner Park, we’re going to examine a few more today.

All in the family: Armando Martinez

Despite the fact we’re going to review two Martinez jockeys in this post, it’s not clear if they’re related at all. On the other hand, jockey Armando Martinez is riding for his wife, Kelli Martinez. Their son, Damian, serves as Armando’s agent (Alberto Pusac and Dakota Wood are his other clients). So, horseracing is the family business.

Last year, the family wanted to get beyond just racing in Oklahoma, so Kelli had 14 entries in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and West Virginia. With wins at Belterra Park and Mountaineer, plus places at Churchill Downs, Mahoning Valley and Mountaineer, it seems that she’s got her foot in the door. The race at Keeneland had a $77,000 purse! Her horse, I’m River, finished last while toting 60-1 odds. Armando was not aboard I’m River, but did collect all the good results at the other tracks.

The good news is that both Armando and Kelli have gotten better at Fonner Park. He’s now among the top riders in winning percentage. When he’s ridden for her in the last 12 months, he’s winning at a 30% clip while she’s 28% overall. So, give more weight to the horse he’s riding if Kelli is the trainer.

Running StyleDirt SprintsDirt Routes
Early28%50%
Early/Presser21%14%
Presser26%0%
Sustained/Presser14%0%
Sustained20%33%
All23%20%

Journeyman who may be on his way down: Ricardo Martinez

Ricardo Martinez started his career very well, securing over $600,000 in purse money in only his second year. He raced almost exclusively at Penn National. He won 13% of his races in 2000, raising that to an above average 15% the next year. Then, he was off the circuit for more than a decade, resurfacing at Mountaineer in 2013. Again, he worked his way into respectability at 16% in 2017. He rode the last day at Suffolk and that may be characteristic of his current career. Promising at times, but no longer impressive.

Note that Ricardo Martinez’s numbers on Routes are due to a pair of wins. He’s only had 14 starts at longer distances in the last year, so don’t be deceived by the chart.

Running StyleDirt SprintsDirt Routes
Early5%0%
Early/Presser9%17%
Presser0%0%
Sustained/Presser3%20%
Sustained9%0%
All6%14%

Puzzling start for a good rider: Chris Fackler

2020 hasn’t been a particularly good year for Chris Fackler. He’s posted 905 wins in his career, usually with a win percentage over 15% (including 22% last year). He even ranked 100th nationally in wins in 2009 (127 wins). So far, the Nebraska native is only in the winner’s circle 11% of the time. His numbers over the last 12 months look much more reasonable.

Since he’s only ridden 30 routes this year, there are oddities. For example, this shows no wins on horses with Early running styles in Dirt Routes. That’s 0 for 2, though he’s won 5 of 19 such races (26%) since May 2016 (when RaceLens began recording running style).

It’s unclear whether his slump is due to bad luck or injury. I’d still count him as an above average rider and look for him to turn his luck around.

Running StyleDirt SprintsDirt Routes
Early18%0%
Early/Presser16%20%
Presser15%25%
Sustained/Presser18%13%
Sustained14%14%
All17%17%

Jockey Analytics at Fonner Park, Part 2: Wood, Serrano, and Bethke

We started with one prolific jockey who is likely to be a huge factor at Fonner and two one-time winners who are unlikely to be a factor at all. We’re going to continue mining the statistics to see if there are any angles that help us here. If you missed the first installment, you should read it now.

Success on return from the oil fields: Dakota Wood

Dakota Wood took 3 years off from a not-particularly successful career as a jockey to work in the oil fields. He’s always loved horseracing, so it’s great to see him return as an above-average jockey when he had left as a mediocre one.

Running StyleDirt SprintsDirt Routes
Early13%25%
Early/Presser17%19%
Presser17%25%
Sustained/Presser9%10%
Sustained8%8%
All14%15%

He has reasonable success running at the front, or near the front. Learning to close is the hurdle he’ll have to get over to separate himself from the rest of the jockeys here, but as long as he’s on a mount that stays in touch throughout the race, he’s got a chance. (Note that the sample size on some of the running styles in routes is small, since he only has 66 dirt routes in the last year).

Better off at Mountaineer: Keivan Serrano

Looking at Keivan Serrano’s stats, he seems to be a reasonable choice in some style-surface-distance categories. Except, he’s not unless he’s riding at Mountaineer. Also, maybe only when he’s riding a favorite. He managed a win at Fonner piloting Dun Sober (Early running style) on dirt over 4 furlongs. See — there are some categories that look promising:

Running StyleDirt SprintsDirt Routes
Early16%13%
Early/Presser7%13%
Presser23%0%
Sustained/Presser9%23%
Sustained7%12%

Unfortunately, when you look at where he’s gotten those wins, the pattern becomes very clear.

  • Fonner Park, last 12 months, 1 win in 33 races — 3%
  • Aqueduct, last 12 months, 3 wins in 64 races — 5%
  • Mountaineer, last 12 months, 34 wins in 240 races — 14%

Young rider, hot of late: Scott Bethke

In 2016, his first year as a jockey, 16-year-old Scott Bethke managed to win 7% of his races. That was good for over $200,000. He took 2017 off, except for one day when he and his Dad, trainer Troy Bethke, went to Wyoming to race. His winning percentage went up to 14% in 2018 and 2019, though it has slipped back down to 9% so far this year.

On the other hand, he’s won 7 of his last 18 races and appears to be a dependable bet. The sample size on his routes in each running style is too small to count on, but in sprints, he’s winning where he ought to be as a young rider. Remember that Pressers win about 18% of the time, so his 28% on Pressers in Dirt Sprints really stands out.

Avoid him on closers for now – young jockeys often take some time to learn that (except Joey Martinez!)

Running StyleDirt SprintsDirt Routes
Early15%50%
Early/Presser13%0%
Presser28%33%
Sustained/Presser7%0%
Sustained5%33%
All12%12%

Jockey Analytics at Fonner Park, Part 1: Arrieta, Larsen, and Cunningham

As COVID has shut down many tracks, horseplayers find themselves looking at cards for Will Rogers Downs and Fonner Park a couple of days a week. None of the NYRA jockeys that I’ve done statistical reviews on show up at either track, of course. The names don’t ring bells for horseplayers and we’ve know way of knowing, beyond raw statistics of overall performance which jockeys make a difference in the success of their mounts. Some might argue that most of them only have a negative impact on the outcome.

I’m a curious soul that loves numbers, so I’m diving into STATS RaceLens to find out who’s helping, who’s hurting and who’s along for the ride.

Big fish in a small pond moving to even smaller pond: Francisco Arrieta

When Francisco Arrieta started on the NYRA circuit, he was a non-factor. In over 200 starts, he managed just 3 wins. At the end of 2017, he headed to Turfway Park and a new lease on life. He want from around 70 starts a year to nearly 800 in 2018 and 955 last year. He rode at Turfway, at Canterbury Park and at Albuquerque. Suddenly, Francisco Arrieta became a jockey of note. He’s won a quarter of his races since he changed circuits. Last week, he showed up at Fonner Park and, in a flash, established himself as a serious factor to consider. 3 wins in 16 starts, ITM 75% (16-3-5-4).

Running StyleDirt SprintsDirt Routes
Early30%32%
Early/Presser22%24%
Presser31%24%
Sustained/Presser15%36%
Sustained29%28%
All25%27%

Lots of good things there. Both Early/Presser and Sustained/Pressers are more likely to be horses that don’t really have a dominant style. Horses that don’t run well seem to get dumped into those categories often, so it’s not surprising that Arrieta would have somewhat less success on those. He’s better at a distance, likely because his tactical decisions are more of a factor than the raw ability of the horse.

Arrieta was dominant on his circuit, so I expect him to dominate at Fonner.

Has ridden forever, useful in one case: Shauna Larsen

Debuting in 1994, Shauna Larsen has been riding competitively longer than some of the other jockeys have been alive. That said, she’s never ridden a lot and doesn’t win often these days. She does have a win at Fonner and has picked up 6 wins on horses with Early running styles in Dirt Sprints out of 29 starts (21%). Those other wins were at Great Falls and Sweetwater Downs. So, if she’s aboard a horse with Early running style in a Dirt Sprint, she probably doesn’t hurt your chances. Anything else, I’d be very apprehensive.

A great year and then… not much: Travis Cunningham

Taylor Swift released her first single, Tim McGraw, in 2006. Her career trajectory since has been mind-boggling. Travis Cunningham won 3 stakes races and was in the money in 5 others in New Mexico in 2006. His earnings for the year topped a million dollars and nearly did so in 2007, despite having only won 15% and 10% of his races those years.

That low winning percentage has drifted downward since and his earnings haven’t topped $500,000 in any year since. He picked up one win at Fonner Park in February, but moved on to Will Rogers Downs where he’s been relatively ineffective. He does have 5 wins in 18 starts on Pressers in Dirt Sprints, but those were at Fair Meadows and Columbus.

His rides are no longer swift. Even at Fonner or Will Rogers Downs, he’s overmatched and will hurt your chances a bit.

Playing a Pick 4 at WRD: Ticket Construction

Among the things I’ve been having pounded into me by experience is that it doesn’t matter whether you hit any specific bet. It only matters that you come out ahead. So, I want to construct my Pick 4 well and safeguard it with other bets.

Friday’s Pick 6 play

So, the other day, I played the Rainbow Pick 6 at Guflstream and nailed the first four legs on a truly cheap ticket ($3.60). I’d loved to have brought that ticket home, but the narrowness kept me from doing so. However, having that ticket meant I could play off the ticket with a Pick 4, Pick 3 and Double. Those subsequent tickets covered the horses that I hadn’t in the Pick 6. One could argue I should just have played a larger ticket to begin with, but my appetite for risk didn’t allow it. Fortunately, by being a horseplayer instead of just a bettor, I was able to get to the final race with a price on every horse in the race. Only 3 of them were in my Pick 6, which gave me a 58% chance of winning if I had 5 legs home.

My Pick 4 used the same horses in it’s first two legs as the Pick 6. I had a single on the Pick 6 in the 5th leg, so I added my second choice and used my top and 4th choices in the last. That extended my final race options by one more horse and another 14% in that last leg, while also giving me that second choice in the next to last leg.

I was nervous about that leg, so I played a Pick 3 that used the co-favorites, then ALL, followed by my top 2 in the last leg.

With the first four legs home, I used my both my first and second choices as the front end and all the horses that I didn’t have in the last leg of the Pick 6 as my double. Any hit on the double would pay over $100.

When my second choice in that next to last leg hit, my Pick 6 died, but the other bets were still alive. I realized I’d only covered my longshot at the Pick 6 on that lone ticket, so I put down a $3 win bet at 15/1 to ensure I at least broke even.

I cashed the Pick 4 at $95.95 to come out $50 ahead on the day and almost triple the investment on those races ($36.60 from P6 @ $3.60, P4 @ $4, P3 @ $14, double @ $12 and win @ $3). I watched that final race serenely, hoping I ended up with $502 (long on the P4), but comfortable that the favorite would show a profit ($48 from P3, P4) and that if my original longshot came home, I’d be profitable as well ($48 due to 15-1).

Will Rogers Downs Early Pick 4

I use EquinEdge and RaceLens to do my research and make selections, but the key to me is the ticket generator in EquinEdge. I helps me see what I might do with various levels of bets.

One thing playing a fair number of multi-race wagers teaches is that narrow tickets invariably produce narrow victories if they produce at all. Nonetheless, sometimes it’s really not worth playing wide. So, playing $4 Pick 4 like I did on Friday was forced on me by the dearth of real selections. That’s not the case in the early Pick 4 at Will Rogers Downs today. There is a single, but you’d best cast your net wider before that.

I decided to look at two options – playing one $24 ticket or playing a $20 ticket with a double if the first two legs have come home.

For the $24 ticket, we’re not using any singles.

That rates out as 19.86% likely per EquinEdge, including a confidence-inspiring 67% in the final leg. I wondered if that was the best bet, though.

So, I decided to try a $20 ticket.

That gives more chances of getting those second and third legs at the risk of having the single in the last. It comes in at 15.96% likely.

So, if we play a double, using our four choices in Race 4 with #2 in Race 5, we have a 10.88% of bringing home the double. With ML 4-1, that $4 vastly increases our chance of cashing in the 5th.

Does that actually make sense?

Whether it makes sense or not depends on the confidence in which we hold those first two legs. In the cheaper ticket, our chances of being alive after two legs in 51.3%. On the $24 ticket, it’s 47.2%.

If we toss in a double while playing the $24 ticket (2/2,6) after we have two legs home then our chances are:

Bet$24 Pick 4 with $2 double$20 Pick4 with $4 double
Getting 2 legs home47.2%51.3%
Finishing the Pick 4 after those 2 legs are home40.9%34.68%
Winning the double5.36%10.88%
Chances of cashing something after getting 2 legs home46.26%45.56%

So, it’s statistically not much different. The payoff on the double won’t be as good as on the Pick 4 if #2 West Coast Broker comes home. The up front risk of $4 isn’t that much.

So, maybe the best way is with the $24 play, but toss in a win bet on #4 Centergee in the 3rd race (2nd leg) and, if the first two legs are home, play a double with 2/2,6 to expand our chance.

Checking the angles: Ascending speed figs

I’ve used this angle often – ascending speed figs in the last three races. It assures me that the horse is showing improvement. However, I was wondering this morning if this actually does indicate an expected improvement in results in addition to higher speed fig.

The good news

The good news is that horses with ascending speed figs do provide better results than the average horse. If we use the number from our last post (about trouble in the last race), your average horse wins 13% (except first-time starters), while those with ascending speed figs come home with 15% of the wins.

Finish position matters

If you want good results instead of just a better performance, you need to examine the data a little more closely. Those ascending speed figs don’t indicate better results to come unless they had resulted in good results already.

Angle Wins ITM ROI Starters
All starters, except first-timers 13% 39% -27% 293,643
Ascending speed figs 15% 44% -26% 49,732
Ascending speed figs, ITM in last 18% 49% -24% 31,772
Ascending speed figs, 4th in last 12% 40% -25% 6,233
Ascending speed figs, worse than 4th in last 9% 31% -31% 17,726

Is there hope beyond those ITM horses?

Of course! Those 4th place horses perform slightly worse than the average horse, but if they go down in class, then the percentages bounce back up.

Angle Wins ITM ROI Starters
Ascending speed figs, 4th in last 12% 40% -25% 6,233
Ascending speed figs, 4th in last
down in class
18% 51% -23% 1,632

 

Checking the angles: Trouble in last race

Of late, I’ve heard from a number of horseplayers how looking for horses who had trouble in their last race is really proving to be a winner for them. Naturally, my first instinct was to bet along with them. Then, the better side of me decided that some research was in order.

As always, I’m using STATS RaceLens to investigate these angles. If you get the free race or a day’s card (free or otherwise), you don’t get to make your own angles. Being an analytics fiend (ask the other Alexandria Little League coaches), I want to find my own angles. It’s not that I’m greedy and want to have a step up on everyone else. I just love learning and… thankfully for you, I also love sharing what I learn.

Is trouble itself enough?

First thing we have to check is, does that trouble in the last race automatically mean better chances in the current race. It’s negligible, giving us 13% wins, 39% ITM, but a depressing ROI of -23% for 37.421 starters. (All starters, less first-time starters return 13% wins, 39% ITM and an ROI of -27% with 293,643 starters in the last year.)

Does today’s morning line make a difference?

Good news! Today’s morning line is a very good indicator of expected win percentage by horses with trouble in their last race. Horse with trouble in their last race and a morning line of 4-1 or better win 26% of the time, finish ITM 62% of the time and have an ROI of -16%. (11,229 starters)

Bad news! That’s almost the same as all horses (except first-time starters) that have morning line odds of 4-1 or better. Those win 25%, are ITM 61% and ROI of -21%. (102,122 starters)

How about beaten favorites?

Jose (@Ruzerian) wondered if beaten favorites were hurting the ROI on one of those slices for horses with trouble.

Beaten favorites with trouble in their last race have a slightly better ROI than horses with morning lines of 4-1 or better, returning -13%, despite winning slightly less often (24% instead of 26%). They’re also in the money a little less, at 56% instead of 62%.

However, when we look at all beaten favorites, we see little daylight for the ones with trouble. It’s just a 1% increase (from 23% to 24%) for beaten favorites that had trouble over those that did not. The ROI is nicer, going down to -13% for the ones that had trouble (as opposed to -19%).

Is gaining ground in the stretch an indicator?

Sadly, not really. It might be the criteria that I’m using — gaining a length in the stretch and finishing at least 2 spots better than at the stretch call in that troubled start.

You gain about 1% more wins in any morning line tranche (<4-1, middling and >8-1) and have a slightly better ROI in general, but nothing overwhelming.

So… is it useful?

Horses that had trouble in their last race are likely to do slightly better than their counterparts who didn’t have trouble. It’s not enough, by itself, to point out a horse to play, but it is another data point in determining your play.

AngleWinsITMROIStarters
All starters, except first-timers13%39%-27%293,643
All starters, trouble last race13%39%-23%37,421
All starters, trouble last race,
gained ground and position over stretch
14%42%-23%7,442
Beaten favorites23%56%-19%24,438
Beaten favorites, trouble last race24%56%-13%3,362
Morning line 4-1 or less25%61%-21%102,122
Morning line 4-1 or less, trouble last race26%62%-16%11,229
Morning line 4-1 or less, trouble last race,
gained ground and position over stretch
27%64%-14%2,473
Morning line 4-1 to 8-1, trouble last race14%45%-17%7,293
Morning line 4-1 to 8-1, trouble last race,
gained ground and position over stretch
14%46%-23%1,655
Morning line 8-1 or more, trouble last race5%23%-29%18,622
Morning line 8-1 or more, trouble last race,
gained ground and position over stretch
6%27%-28%3,305

Claiming races: checking @TheStaggieMan’s advice

Since I’m on vacation, I’ve got some spare time to do some research, especially on days with little racing going on. So, I saw a string of basic handicapping advice tweets from one of my good Twitter friends, TheStaggieMan. You know I can’t pass up a chance to see whether long-held notions are supported by the data. So, we’re going to review his advice on claiming races.

Dropping in class with early speed

I set up an angle in RaceLens to examine whether horses with an Early running style dominate when dropping in class in claiming races. RaceLens found 8336 runners that fit the mold in 6363 races. Of those, 19% won and 48% finished in the money. The ROI isn’t great, at -21%, which is slightly worse than just picking the favorite (20%) in every race. So, it’s a good angle, but not want you’d want to make automatic. With the win percentages for all horses at 11-14% (turf routes are 11%, while dirt routes are 14%), getting an angle at 19% likely is pretty good, though not quite dominant.

Early speed going 6 furlongs

This one comes with a claim that early speed wins twice as often as any other running style. If true, you’d have to be an idiot not to use this angle.

Running Style Win Pct ITM Pct ROI
Early 17% 43% -22%
Early/Presser 12% 38% -28%
Presser 18% 51% -22%
Sustained/Presser 8% 28% -34%
Sustained 13% 42% -26%
Unknown (only 11 runners) 9% 9% -45%
On the lead at first call (projected) 23% 55% -16%

You might say the stats don’t support this, but it could be a categorization thing about running styles. Perhaps using RaceLens’ list of horses with an Early running style is too broad. If we look at the underlying proposition – the horse that gets out front early in a 6f claiming race has the best chance to win – then we find that 23% of those horses win. That’s a solid angle.

In viewing this angle, it can also be used to caution yourself during thoughts about track bias. When you see one of those 6f claiming races get taken by the early speed, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything about a speed bias at the track that day. (Many bettors leap to conclusions based on scant evidence, after all.)

Allowance horses dropping into claiming races

Here we’ll want to examine not only how well those allowance horses do, but whether an assertion by Norm (@The_Knight_Sky) that they’re overbet is true.

With 5002 runners in 3730 races in the last year, allowance horses dropping into claiming races (down 5 points or more in Equibase class rating) won 19% of the time and finished in the money 48% of the time. The ROI is simply average for an angle that’s this wide, at -20%. That doesn’t seem to point toward overbetting and it’s a nice angle.

Conclusions

The standard advice that TheStaggieMan is giving here holds true, basically. Using these angles is going to point out horses that have far better chances than expected – from 18% to 23%. Incorporate them into your handicapping, but don’t just use them blindly.