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Analyzing data for Canterbury, 2007 and 2008

By Dave Valento

Handicapping is the art of analyzing various bits of information. Everything from past performances to personal trip notes to trainer patterns are in play. Many critical data points are well published and used by the wagering public. Beyer speed figures, trainer situational percentages and Tomlinson pedigree data are all very important handicapping information provided by Daily Racing Form. Since wagering on horse racing is a pari-mutuel endeavor, the more informed or knowledgeable player should have an edge on the others wagering into the same pools.
There are some interesting trends that can be seen by inspecting the winners from the 2007 season through the races run thus far in 2008.

Wagering Pulbic and the Tote Board

So, far in 2008, the public gets in right more often than not at Canterbury. Of the 117 races run in 2008, the winners’ odds were lower then their morning line in 91 times. (78% of all races run were won by a horse at odds less then their morning line).

What is even more interesting is how seldom a winner is an overlay when their morning line is 4-1 or less. Of the 69 races were the winner had a morning line of 4-1 or less, 64 were bet down. (93% of races won by a horse with a morning line of 4-1 or less went off at odds less then their morning line).

On the other end, of the 27 races were the winner had a morning line of 6-1 or higher, 14 were not bet down. (52% of all races won by a horse with a morning line of 6-1 or higher went off at odds higher then their morning line).

So, what is this information saying and how do we use it? As is the case with most data analysis, numbers can be manipulated into supporting any argument. I believe in this case it says a couple of things:

1. The players wagering into the Canterbury pools have a pretty good idea which runners are live.
2. Canterbury players tend to hone in on low priced runners, which at times offer serious overlays. (Of the winners that won at a 6-1+ morning line, they went off at an average of twice their morning line).
3. Canterbury players seldom miss a low to medium priced live runner.
The two classes that offer the most overlays are maiden claiming and low claiming (33% overlays). The rest of the classes have a combined 14% overlay win record.

Read this doc on Scribd: Chart 1

Trainer trends

There are literally thousands of trainer angles scrutinzed day in and day out. Let’s take a look at a couple from the past year plus of racing at Canterbury.

Wins by running style

By taking a look at a few of the top trainers at Canterbury, you’ll find a few intesting statistics.
1. 75% of Jamie Ness and Justin Evans wins have come on the front end. Only 6% of Justin Evan’s wins have been closers over the last two seasons.
2. Even though speed is dominant, Bernell Rhone has won more races with closers then he has with speed types.
3. Vic Hanson hasn’t won with a closer in 2007 or 2008.
4. More than half of the 47 Mac Robertson winners have stayed off the tussle for the early lead.

Read this doc on Scribd: Chart 2

Running Styles

Here’s something most Canterbury players know. ..speed is dominant. However, did you know that speed is less than preferred at the route distance, especially on the grass?
For turf route races, closers win 42% of the time while speed only gets there 23%.

Read this doc on Scribd: Chart 3

Track running slower compared to 2007

In 2007, it was commonplace to see fast times. There were 189 six-furlong races in 2007 and 22 were run in less than 1:10 flat (12%). In 2008, we’ve seen exactly zero sub 1:10 times. Of the 41 six-furlong races run in 2008, there have been only two to break 1:11. Both of those winners were blowouts. Atta Boy Roy won by 11 lengths and Eagle Storm won by almost 10 lengths and both stopped the clock in 1:10.4

Read this doc on Scribd: Chart 4

If you’d like an excel document with all of the winners data (times, winning trainer, winning style, ship from track, etc) for 2007 and 2008, feel free to e-mail me at David_Valento@Dell.Com or visit for more free information and free daily race analysis.