Canterbury Park Track Profile

There are many handicapping factors to consider when evaluating a horse race and selecting win candidates. The track profile is one of those factors, as it can help us to narrow down our contender group and focus on the horse whose running style most closely fits the track profile. The following analysis is based on races run at Canterbury Park over the past 5 summers. Races are broken down into three categories: dirt sprints, dirt routes and turf routes. Let’s take a look at some statistics for these different distances.

Dirt Sprints: Early speed has been a dominant factor in sprint races at Canterbury Park over the past five seasons. In a sample size of 781 sprints, the winner was on or within 1 length of the lead at the first call 52% of the time, and on or within 1 length of the lead at the second call 61% of the time. Conversely, the winner was more than 5 lengths back at the first call only 15% of the time, and more than 5 lengths back at the second call only 12% of the time. Deep closers in sprints are at a severe disadvantage on this race track.

There has been a slight post position bias towards the inside post positions in sprints, as 44% of the races have been won from post positions 1-3 since 2004, compared to 47% winners from post positions 4-7.

Dirt Routes: The surface has played pretty evenly for dirt routes over the past five seasons, as the numbers don’t indicate a long-term track bias at the route distance. In a sample size of 322 dirt routes, the winner was on or within 1 length of the lead at the first call 41% of the time, and on or within 1 length of the lead at the second call 61% of the time. Conversely, the winner was more than 5 lengths back at the first call 24% of the time, and more than 5 lengths back at the second call only 11% of the time. This data suggests that while horses haven’t needed blazing early speed to win route races here, they do need to make up ground and be right in contention by the second call (6f) of the race. The mid-race move has been effective at this distance in the past.

There is a distinct inside post position advantage in dirt routes. Post positions 1-3 have won 47% of the route races, and post positions 4-7 have won 43% of the route races since 2004. A horse with tactical early speed and an inside post is your meal ticket!

Turf Routes: The historical track profile for turf routes at Canterbury Park favors closers. Early speed is NOT an advantage on the turf. A sample size of 144 turf routes run since 2004 show the winner on or within 1 length of the lead at the first call only 18% of the time, and on or within 1 length of the lead at the second call 33% of the time. Conversely, the winner was more than 5 lengths back at the first call 40% of the time, and more than 5 lengths back at the second call 21% of the time. Again, a mid-race move fits the winning profile on the turf. Faint-hearted front-runners that are able to carry their speed on the main track will not succeed on the turf course. Only the strongest front running horses can wire the field on the turf.

Post positions 1-3 have won 35% of the turf routes since 2004, and posts 4-7 have won 50% of the turf routes, a slight post position advantage to the middle posts.

The Bottom Line: Keep your eye on where the winners are coming from at all distances and surfaces. Look for trends that either match the historical profile or contradict it. Either way, don’t fight the bias! Incorporate the track profile into your handicapping and select more winners! Good luck in 2009!

The Oracle

5 thoughts on “Canterbury Park Track Profile”

  1. Someone correct me if I’m wrong because I dont have numbers, but if I remember right, it seems to me that the first month or maybe even just the first few weeks last year saw a lot of early horses winning on the turf and a lot of closers winning on the main track. And then as the meet rolled along the track went back to playing like it usually does. I could be remembering wrong however, so don’t take that to the window with ya. Hey Oracle, you should run those numbers just for May and see what you come up with.

  2. Hello. I was able to run the May numbers for dirt sprints and routes. There were only 4 turf races so I didn’t run those. The numbers were similar for sprints as 53% of horses were on or within 1 length at the first call and 68% were on or within 1 length of the lead at the second call. Sample size was 72 races. In routes, 52% of the winners were on or within 1 length of the lead at the first call and 68% were on or within one length of the lead at the second call. Sample size 25 races. Hope this helps!! Oracle

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