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2020 Canterbury Park Live Meet Preview from The Oracle

Opening day of the 2020 Canterbury Park live racing meet is tomorrow, Wednesday, June 10!  That means it’s time to look back at the 2019 Canterbury Park live meet from a statistical standpoint and use that data to help us better predict the outcomes of the 2020 Canterbury Park races.

Also, please note that the Canterbury Pick 5 wager this year is no longer a jackpot bet and it offers the lowest takeout in the country, and likely the universe, of 10%.  This is absolutely the best bet in racing!

Here’s a look at some final statistics for the thoroughbred races run at Canterbury Park in 2019, as we prepare to unlock the 2020 Canterbury Park handicapping puzzle.  Good luck in 2020!

The Favorite

The public correctly selected the winner 39% of the time in all thoroughbred races run at Canterbury Park last year.  That is 1-percentage point above the national average for winning favorites at all racetracks in North America in 2019, and is 3 percentage points above how favorites fared at Canterbury Park in 2018.  The most formful races last year were the races for maiden claimers, which produced winning favorites 49% of the time (37/76).  Despite the high percentage of winning favorites in this category, betting them all still produced a 2% net loss.  This has been a trend that has held up well the past several years.  A lot of favorites seem to get their picture taken in the maiden claiming ranks at Canterbury Park.  Conversely, the maiden special weight races proved to be elusive to the betting public last year, as only 30% of the favorites in that category prevailed.  Let’s see if that trend carries forward to 2020.

The Odds

Last year, heavy favorites that were bet down to 7/5 odds or lower won 152 races out of 332 attempts.  That’s a 46%-win rate, but it also shows that these “locks” lost more often than they won.

On the other end of the spectrum, there were 12 winners at 20-1 odds or higher last year, but over 800 runners went to post at those high odds.  Betting them all would have returned a paltry 38 cents on the dollar.  Historically, Canterbury Park has not been a “longshot” paradise, and last year 78% of the thoroughbred races were won by horses at odds below 6-1.

The “sweet spot” for win betting last year was the 6-1/7-1 odds range.  That was a break-even proposition for the 343 runners if you played them all.

The Jockeys

Francisco Arrieta won his first riding title at Canterbury Park last year as he led all jockeys with 79 wins.  Orlando Mojica finished second with 74 wins and Ry Eikleberry was third with 60 wins.

Arrieta won with 23% of his mounts last year, and returned 95 cents on the dollar overall.  When the leading rider is still able to beat the takeout by 12 percentage points, that indicates that it is still possible to find some value out there for his mounts.  We will see if the public is more tuned in to Arrieta in 2020, as he figures to be in contention for leading rider once again.  He was solid with favorites (43% winners) and he showed a flat bet profit in dirt sprints (ROI = $1.07) and turf routes (ROI = $1.03).  His win percentage on the dirt was higher than on the turf last year (26% to 16%).  Also, Arrieta was 0/18 with horses above 20-1, but he did bring in a 19-1 winner in a dirt sprint.

As of now, Orlando Mojica will not be back at Canterbury Park this summer, but 2018 leading rider Ry Eikleberry is returning after finishing third in the standings last year.  Eikleberry has had a lot of success at Canterbury over the years, and he attracts a lot of wagering dollars.  Therefore, finding value with his mounts is a difficult task.  Wagering on all of Eikleberry’s mounts last year would have returned only 74 cents on the dollar.  He rode 91 favorites last year, winning with 29 of them (32% win and ROI = 0.73).  Eikleberry has a reputation as an excellent gate jockey who puts his mounts on the lead.  Therefore, it’s no surprise that his best category has historically been in dirt sprints.  Last year was no exception as he won with 23% of his mounts in sprint mounts and beat the takeout by 8 percentage points.

Of the top 10 jockeys last year, Quincy Hamilton led all riders with an ROI of 0.96.  The “flaming wallet” award went to Constantino Roman, who’s mounts returned only 40 cents on the dollar in 2019.

The Trainers

For the past several years, McLean Robertson and Robertino Diodoro have battled it out for leading trainer honors at Canterbury Park, with Robertson prevailing last year 73 wins to 71 wins.  Both trainers have their strengths which tend to carry over from year to year.

Mac Robertson won with 25% of his starters last year, including 42% of the time his horses were favored.  Robertson showed a flat bet profit in dirt routes and maiden claiming races, and easily beat the takeout in allowance races and maiden special weight races.  Historically, Robertson has not been one to win with longshots at Canterbury Park, as his highest price winner last year paid $23 dollars.  Roberston was especially strong last year with his fillies and mares, winning with 33 of 90 (37%) with an ROI of 1.19 for every dollar wagered.  Expect another strong performance by Robertson in 2020, as he looms the favorite to repeat as leading trainer once again.

Robertino Diodoro won with 26% of his starters last year, and also won with 42% of his horses that went to post as the favorite.  In a rare feat, betting on Diodoro favored runners to place and show last year produced a positive ROI of 1.07 and 1.05, respectively.  Diodoro’s main game is claiming races and that is where he is the most dangerous.  He won with 31% (44 of 144) of his claiming runners last year, showing an ROI of 1.10 for every dollar wagered.  Diodoro’s highest price winner last year was 14-1, and he had 3 winners of 8-1 and higher from 39 tries.  He did not have much luck in the maiden special weight ranks, winning just 1 race in 19 attempts and the winner paid $4.  Expect him to be near the top of the trainer standings throughout the season.

Honorable mention goes to Tony Rengstorf who had 25 wins at Canterbury and posted a positive ROI of 1.11 for all his mounts.  Rengstorf was an impressive 60% with favorites (12/20 and ROI 1.41) and also posted a positive ROI with longshots 8-1 and higher (7/70 and ROI 1.27).  His highest price winner last meet was 16-1.

The “flaming wallet” award went to Valerie Lund, with an ROI last year of 0.61.  While she was dominant with favorites (7/9 and ROI 1.62) thanks in large part to her top runner Mr. Jagermeister, she was only 1/50 at 8-1 and higher last year at Canterbury (ROI = 0.18).

Best of luck playing the 2020 live racing meet at Canterbury Park!

by The Oracle