• Getting out for the day: last race at Saratoga hangs big balloons

    POSTED Aug 15, 2011
    Saratoga Race Course bettors looking to either pad their bankroll or replenish it on the last race of the day have received that opportunity far more often than not at the current meeting.

    Heading into the final day of the fourth (third full) week of the 40-day meeting, favorites in the last race of the day are batting just 28.57%, and the average win mutuel is $21.40 with a median of $13.80 (see chart at bottom of this post).

    More short term, the get-away race has been a bonanza for those going against the chalk, as the favorite is winless in the last ten nightcaps to balloon the average win mutuel in that timeframe to $32.38 with a median of $16. In the past four days (August 10-14), the last race winners have paid $48.60, $134, $16.40, and $24.80.

    The BRISnet.com Handicapper's Edge Saratoga At a Glance chart indicates that the average win mutuel at the meeting is $13.64, which puts the average last race mutuel 56.9% higher.

    Favorites at the meeting are batting 31%, so the 28.57% last race rate isn't too far off the norm, and neither, really, is them being winless in their last ten tries since 31% winners means 69% losers, and something that has a 69% chance of happening will occur 10 times in a row about 2.4% of the time or the equivalent of a 41-to-1 shot coming in, and since a 66-to-1 won on Saturday we know that's not all that rare!

    A practical application of this is that the last race has helped the $.50 pick four to a robust average payout of $1,842,09 (Saratoga offers two pick fours daily: races 2-5 and the last four). A 1-to-2 favorite won the feature on Sunday, August 14, but the late pick four that started with a $5.30 Pletcher production still managed to pay $366.75 for $.50.

    And all this brings us to today (Monday, August 15) where my going against the likely favorite is sure to end the public choice's ten-race skid in the nightcap, but at least I'll have a story to tell.

    I'm backing #4 Slamming, who trainer Steve Asmussen thought enough of to buy from his clients at the Heiligbrodt Dispersal sale. The sticker that day was $22,000, and she shows up here for $25,000 with Asmussen as a co-owner. I'd normally like a few more workouts off this kind of layoff, but that she was at Lone Star earlier this year tells me she probably was in training off the track at the farm. It's an angle play based on the Asmussen buy, but 4-to-1 would scratch me where I itch.

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