Finding Faulty Favorites
What is a “faulty favorite” you ask? Well, although the dictionary has no opinion on the subject — apparently, Mr. Webster did not frequent the track… weasel — I define it as a susceptible betting favorite, or one that has obvious flaws.
Of course, “obvious flaws” is about as precise as “really bad,” which is somewhere between “Encino Man” and any other Pauly Shore movie. So, to get a better idea as to what constitutes a faulty favorite, I consulted my database of over 6,000 thoroughbred races run from 2004 to present.
First, we’ll look at the numbers for favorites overall (for the sake of consistency, I eliminated favored entries):
Sole Betting Favorites
Winners: 1,957 (36.0%)
Now, with those digits in mind, let’s see if, like Janice Dickinson’s plastic surgeon, we can make them look worse. We’ll start by insisting that the favored horse’s last-race speed figure does not rank among the top three in the field. Furthermore, to ensure that the animal has not had a chance to regain its form via rest and recuperation, we’ll also ask that its most recent outing be less than 45 days old.
Winners: 261 (27.8%)
So far, so good… but let’s really drive the nail into the coffin by concentrating only on those favorites that are competing at the same level as last time. For the purpose of this test, I used the TrackMaster class par ratings, but I’m guessing that any reasonable assessment of field class/talent would suffice.
Winners: 96 (24.6%)
As a finishing touch, I ran the numbers on morning-line favorites, using the same criteria as above.
Winners: 93 (19.7%)
Fans of multi-race wagering take heed: if finding a morning line favorite that will lose over 80 percent of the time doesn’t excite you, I don’t know what will.
Hansen, last year’s Juvenile champion, made his 2012 debut in the Grade III Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 29 and got — I apologize in advance — MMMbop-ped by Algorithms. Worse, my pace figures continue to suggest that the son off Tapit may be the second coming of fellow Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner War Pass.
Sophomore Stakes Highlight Weekend Racing Action
Three-year-olds are back in the spotlight this weekend, as those on the Triple Crown trail take their first tentative steps towards earning a spot in the Churchill Downs starting gate come the first Saturday in May.
Below is a look at the Withers Stakes. To get my full Pace Profile Report, which includes the Endeavour and the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, click HERE (don't worry, it’s free).
Saturday, Feb. 4, 2011
Aqueduct (race 9)