• A Closer Look at Del Mar & Saratoga

    POSTED Jul 21, 2013
    I’ve been on the road the past few days and sporadic Internet access and a general lack of sleep have conspired to delay this week’s column.

    However, there’s something about an open road that’s inspiring. In my own case, I’ve been motivated to catch up on all the great handicapping literature I’ve stockpiled, but haven’t had time to read, over the past year or two. Titles by such turf luminaries as Quinn, Ziemba, Benter… the list seems endless.

    For others, like the lady I saw at a Pilot Flying J truck stop yesterday, the open road apparently inspires a desire to eschew modern-day conveniences — combs, baths and other such frivolities.

    Now, the cool thing about all this — at least to me — is the ideas for studies, as well as future podcasts and columns that my reading has provoked.

    * Quinn claims that class is more important in routes than in sprints. Is this true? How does one measure class?

    * Academic studies show that pari-mutuel markets are generally efficient (I know, no huge surprise there), but they also show certain psychological patterns in wagering, some that have existed for years. Can they be exploited?

    * What is the peak age for racing thoroughbreds? When do they start to decline? Former podcast guest and current university professor Marshall Gramm answered that question in a study he did several years ago.

    This week, though, I’ve decided to help handicappers in a more tangible way, with stats from Brisnet.com on the summer’s premier race meetings — Del Mar and Saratoga.

    Let’s look at Del Mar first:

    Avg. Winning Odds: 4.05-1
    Favorite Win Rate: 33%
    Favorite In-the-Money Rate: 56%

    Average Payoffs

    Quinella: $25.10
    Exacta: $48.60
    Daily Double: $55.00
    Trifecta: $471.50
    Pick Three: $346.70
    Superfecta: $1,604.10
    Pick Six: $79,891.40
    Pick Four: $2,277.20
    Pick Five: $19,693.00
    Place Pick All: $4,207.70
    Super High Five: $18,587.70

    Track Bias Stats

    (Click on image to enlarge)
    And, now, Saratoga:

    Avg. Winning Odds: 5.56-1
    Favorite Win Rate: 38%
    Favorite In-the-Money Rate: 69%

    Average Payoffs

    Quinella: $39.30
    Exacta: $100.30
    Daily Double: $104.50
    Trifecta: $671.40
    Pick Three: $957.50
    Superfecta: $4,966.40
    Pick Six: $56,219.50
    Pick Four: $5,335.30
    Grand Slam: $135.10

    Track Bias Stats

    (Click on image to enlarge)
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