Week in Review: Canchari Heats Up

With nine days of live racing remaining in the 2012 season, favorites are still winning 44% overall in thoroughbred races with an ROI of $0.98 for every dollar wagered. Favorites in dirt sprints are winning 48% of the time (ROI $1.02), favorites in dirt routes are winning 43% (ROI $0.98) and favorites on the turf are winning 33% (ROI $0.87).

Spotlight: Alex Canchari

Last week was quite the wild ride for jockey Alex Canchari. In a season dominated by favorites and low-priced winners, Canchari scored with two huge bombs and finished in the money with several others. Here are the highlights from Canchari’s fantastic week:

Thursday

• Rajablou (Place at 23-1) – Rajablou had a 2 for 28 career record and was 0 for 6 on the turf, although he did show three in-the-money turf finishes. Trained by Coty Rosin, Rajablou grabbed the early lead but was passed in deep stretch by 5-1 Grandpa George. Rajablou paid $17.60 to place and $12.80 to show.

Friday

• Andrea’s Josie (Place at 20-1) – Andrea’s Josie had four prior turf races with her best finish being sixth, beaten four lengths. Canchari kept her near the lead and she ran a game second, beaten a length by the 3/2 favorite Theater of Dreams, but six clear of the third place horse. Andrea’s Josie paid $13.40 to place and $8.20 to show.

• Ming Glo (Win at 27-1) – The very next race, Canchari guided Ming Glo to a one length victory at 27-1 on the turf. Ming Glo, an 8-year-old gelding with a 1 for 59 career record and 0 for 15 turf record, was selected on the Friday pre race show by media personality and Canterbury handicapper Mike Gelfand. Mike correctly pointed out that Ming Glo had competitive turf figures and was a contender in this field. Ming Glo was switching back to his preferred surface after running in several dirt sprints at Prairie Meadows. Ming Glo paid $57.20 to win, $18.80 to place and $6.00 to show.

Saturday

• Third Rail (Win at 6-1) – Third rail was exiting a third place finish, beaten ¾ of a length at the same distance but was stepping up in class to a higher claiming price. The public sent him off as the fourth choice in an eight horse field and the believers were rewarded. Third Rail paid $15.60 to win, $7.20 to place and $4.80 to show.

• Cherryful Lady (Place at 19-1) – Cherryful Lady had been beaten by a combined 55 lengths in her prior three starts. Her last race was a 19 length defeat on the turf at odds of 40-1. So the public understandably stayed away from this filly even though she had won a dirt sprint earlier in the meet at 16-1. Canchari made a bold, mid race move on Cherryful Lady but came up a length short behind front running 4-1 winner Mane Slick. Cherryful Lady paid $18.00 to place and $7.20 to show.

Sunday

• Forest Sunrise (Win at 29-1) – This 8-year-old gelding was lightly raced with a solid overall record of 4 wins from 22 lifetime starts. But his last three races he had been well beaten despite showing pretty good early speed. Canchari took this horse right to the front and he proved to be very game on the front end, holding on for a 1 length victory. Forest Sunrise paid $60.20 to win, $25.00 to place and $8.40 to show.

Congratulations if you were holding winning tickets on any of the Canchari longshots from last week! And take a close look at his mounts for the remainder of the meet, perhaps his wild ride will continue.

This blog was written by Canterbury Regular “The Oracle”. The Oracle is a longtime Minnesota race fan that has handicapped Canterbury’s races religiously for more than 20 years. He writes about handicapping and statistical trends in Canterbury’s races.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography

Canterbury Trends & Statistics

The hot, humid summer continues and the Canterbury main track has consistently favored pure front-runners all year. The track bias for the last month shows dirt sprints and routes yielding wire-to-wire winners at a 45% clip, which is about double the national average. Even turf races are yielding 25% front running winners, which is about 10 percentage points above the national average.

The bottom line: Speed is dominant at all distances on the main track.

The Favorite

Favorites are currently winning at a 43% clip in thoroughbred races with an ROI of $0.98 for every dollar wagered. For much of the meet, the favorite was generating a flat bet profit but it has now slipped just under the breakeven point. Dirt sprints are the most chalk friendly races, with a 49% favorite win rate and an ROI of $1.04. Dirt routes are next at 46% and $0.95. Turf races are tougher to predict, yielding 32% winning favorites and $0.86 return on every dollar wagered. Not a surprise at all.

Jockey Spotlight: Lori Keith

Lori Keith has quietly moved into third place in the jockey standings with 23 wins from 126 starters, an 18% win rate. More impressively, she has compiled a flat bet profit of $1.02 for every dollar wagered on her horses so far this summer.

She has been a money rider on the turf this summer, winning 6 of 12 turf sprints (less than 1 mile) with an ROI of $2.83 for every dollar wagered. Her record in turf routes is 3 for 21, but one winner was a $40 bomb so her ROI is still $1.54 at this distance.

Take a close look at her horses when she rides for the Vic Hanson barn or the Michael Biehler barn as 20 of her 23 wins have been for one of these two barns. For Hanson, she has 10 wins from 52 starters for an ROI of $1.34. For Biehler, she has 10 wins from 34 starters for an ROI of $1.07.

From a wagering perspective, she’s definitely been giving her supporters their money’s worth!

This blog was written by Canterbury Regular “The Oracle”. The Oracle is a longtime Minnesota race fan that has handicapped Canterbury’s races religiously for more than 20 years. He writes about handicapping and statistical trends in Canterbury’s races.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography

The 2012 Race Meet: First Half Review

It’s hard to believe but we’re nearly one half of the way through the meet (tomorrow will mark the 30th day of racing of a meet which will now consist of 61 racing days). So far this summer, speed and favorites have done quite well. Here’s an overview:

The Track Bias

Early speed continues to dominate on the main track this summer and I wouldn’t expect it to change any time soon with continued high temperatures in the forecast this week. Over the last month (June 10 – July 7), 30 of 77 sprint races have been won by pure front running horses. That’s a 39% wire-to-wire rate when the national average sits at approximately 25% for sprints. Additionally, 50 of 77 sprints winners were running 1-2-3 at the first call (2f) of the race. That’s 65% which is slightly above the 60% norm. Getting the lead by the first call in sprints continues to be a huge advantage.

Routes on the main track have been favoring early speed even more than sprints! Over the last month, 12 of 26 route winners have raced gate-to-wire. That’s a 46% rate when the norm across the country is about 20%. Horses sitting 1-2-3 at the first call (4f) in routes have won 22 of 26 route races over the past month, which is an 85% rate. The norm for routes is about 50%.

Closers still have a fair chance on the turf, as only 5 of 26 turf races have been won gate to wire (19%). The national average is about 15%. The top 3 runners at the first call have won 10 of 26 on the turf over the past month (38%), so the majority of turf races are still being won by horses sitting behind the top 3 runners at the first call. That’s right on par with normal expectations.

Favorites

Favorites took a slight hit last week, but overall they are still winning 45% overall in thoroughbred races with a positive ROI of $1.05 for every dollar wagered. Breaking it down, favorites in dirt sprints are winning 49% of the time (ROI $1.07), favorites in dirt routes are winning 46% (ROI $1.11) and favorites on the turf are winning 33% (ROI $0.91). Historically, the turf generates lower percentages of winning favorites and that trend is holding this year.

Spotlight: Tanner Riggs

Jockey Tanner Riggs has had a very impressive summer so far as he currently holds a seven win lead in the jockey standings. Overall, he has won 35 of 168 races for a 21% win percentage. His ROI on all races is only $0.74 for every dollar wagered, but there are a few categories where he has excelled and should be watched closely for the remainder of the meet.

Turf routes: Riggs is 9/18 in turf routes so far with an ROI of $2.22 for every dollar wagered.

Riggs/Biehler: When Riggs rides for the Bieher barn he is 5/12 with an ROI of $1.65.

Riggs/ Robertson: When Riggs rides for the Robertson barn he is 10/23 with an ROI of $1.39.

Watch for Tanner Riggs in these situations as his horse is likely to be a strong contender and a good bet!

Good Luck this week!

This blog was written by Canterbury Regular “The Oracle”. The Oracle is a longtime Minnesota race fan that has handicapped Canterbury’s races religiously for more than 20 years. He writes about handicapping and statistical trends in Canterbury’s races.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography

Week 4 in Review (Stats & Trends)

Congratulations to jockey Tanner Riggs for winning the first five races on Friday night! The “all Tanner” early Pick 4 returned $105.50 for a dollar wager. Tanner is currently leading the jockey standings and is a great addition to the jockey colony this year.

The Pick 4 continues to be an excellent value play. This past week there were two $1 Pick 4 payoffs over $1,000 on Saturday and the longest priced horse in either sequence was only 6-1. In fact, the late Pick 4 on Saturday returned $1,337.10 for a dollar wager with the winning odds of 5-1, 4-1, 3-1 and 7/5. The Pick 4 paid more than three times what the win parlay for the sequence would have paid.

The Track Bias

No significant change in the track bias as horses are still going gate to wire in about 45% of the sprint races. That’s nearly twice the national average. It’s critical to be forwardly placed in sprints and many horses can be eliminated from your contender group with this one angle. As Dark Star always said, “Find the Speed”.

Favorites

Favorites at Canterbury continue to outperform the national average by about ten percentage points. Currently, favorites are winning at a 43% rate with about a breakeven ROI. The public has been especially sharp in maiden claiming and maiden special weight races, correctly selecting the winner 64% and 54% of the time, respectively.

The public has had the most trouble predicting the winner in Allowance and Stakes races with only 7 favorites winning from 28 races (25%).

How can you use this information? My suggestion would be to play Pick 4’s and isolate singles or narrow contender groups in the maiden races and go a bit deeper in the other races. The Pick 4 can still pay nicely if a favorite or two win during the sequence. We just need one good price.

Trainer Spotlight: Michael Biehler

Let’s take a closer look at one of the leading trainers so far this meet. Michael Biehler is off to a hot start with 10 winners from his first 30 starters and a flat bet profitable ROI of $1.08. His pattern last year was to excel with favorites and runners that were live on the tote board. This year is also following that pattern as he is 7 for 10 with the favorite (ROI $1.65) and 9 for 15 at odds of 5/2 and lower (ROI $1.59). He is also 8 for 18 in dirt sprints (ROI $1.38) so pay close attention to those bet-down sprinters.

Continuing the trend from last year, Biehler horses at 7/2 odds and above are only 1 for 15 at Canterbury this year and only 3 for 88 over the past year at Canterbury Park. But he has had some success with higher priced horses at other tracks, winning about 10% of the time with runners between 7/2 and 9-1 across the country. He might pop with a few medium odds runners yet this summer.

One other area of vulnerability with the Biehler barn is with two year old runners. Biehler was only 2 for 29 with two year olds over the past year. If Biehler sends out any heavily supported two year olds this summer, conflicting trends will be in play. The handicapper will have to decide for themselves and that’s why we call it gambling.

Good Luck in Week 4!

This blog was written by Canterbury Regular “The Oracle”. The Oracle is a longtime Minnesota race fan that has handicapped Canterbury’s races religiously for more than 20 years. He writes about handicapping and statistical trends in Canterbury’s races.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography

Week 4 in Review (Stats & Trends)

Congratulations to jockey Tanner Riggs for winning the first five races on Friday night! The “all Tanner” early Pick 4 returned $105.50 for a dollar wager. Tanner is currently leading the jockey standings and is a great addition to the jockey colony this year.

The Pick 4 continues to be an excellent value play. This past week there were two $1 Pick 4 payoffs over $1,000 on Saturday and the longest priced horse in either sequence was only 6-1. In fact, the late Pick 4 on Saturday returned $1,337.10 for a dollar wager with the winning odds of 5-1, 4-1, 3-1 and 7/5. The Pick 4 paid more than three times what the win parlay for the sequence would have paid.

The Track Bias

No significant change in the track bias as horses are still going gate to wire in about 45% of the sprint races. That’s nearly twice the national average. It’s critical to be forwardly placed in sprints and many horses can be eliminated from your contender group with this one angle. As Dark Star always said, “Find the Speed”.

Favorites

Favorites at Canterbury continue to outperform the national average by about ten percentage points. Currently, favorites are winning at a 43% rate with about a breakeven ROI. The public has been especially sharp in maiden claiming and maiden special weight races, correctly selecting the winner 64% and 54% of the time, respectively.

The public has had the most trouble predicting the winner in Allowance and Stakes races with only 7 favorites winning from 28 races (25%).

How can you use this information? My suggestion would be to play Pick 4’s and isolate singles or narrow contender groups in the maiden races and go a bit deeper in the other races. The Pick 4 can still pay nicely if a favorite or two win during the sequence. We just need one good price.

Trainer Spotlight: Michael Biehler

Let’s take a closer look at one of the leading trainers so far this meet. Michael Biehler is off to a hot start with 10 winners from his first 30 starters and a flat bet profitable ROI of $1.08. His pattern last year was to excel with favorites and runners that were live on the tote board. This year is also following that pattern as he is 7 for 10 with the favorite (ROI $1.65) and 9 for 15 at odds of 5/2 and lower (ROI $1.59). He is also 8 for 18 in dirt sprints (ROI $1.38) so pay close attention to those bet-down sprinters.

Continuing the trend from last year, Biehler horses at 7/2 odds and above are only 1 for 15 at Canterbury this year and only 3 for 88 over the past year at Canterbury Park. But he has had some success with higher priced horses at other tracks, winning about 10% of the time with runners between 7/2 and 9-1 across the country. He might pop with a few medium odds runners yet this summer.

One other area of vulnerability with the Biehler barn is with two year old runners. Biehler was only 2 for 29 with two year olds over the past year. If Biehler sends out any heavily supported two year olds this summer, conflicting trends will be in play. The handicapper will have to decide for themselves and that’s why we call it gambling.

Good Luck in Week 4!

This blog was written by Canterbury Regular “The Oracle”. The Oracle is a longtime Minnesota race fan that has handicapped Canterbury’s races religiously for more than 20 years. He writes about handicapping and statistical trends in Canterbury’s races.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography

Week 3 in Review (Stats & Trends)

We were back on the turf for the first time in 2012, and it didn’t take long for pari-mutuel fireworks to occur as 35-1 shot Wolsfeld Woods rocked the tote board in Race 4 on Friday night. That triggered a Pick 4 payout of $4.415.20 for a $1 wager as the Pick 4 at Canterbury continues to be an excellent betting opportunity. Saturday also produced a giant Pick 4 payoff of $4,301.20 for the sequence of 8-1, 2-1, 4-1 and 7-1. Another huge Pick 4 overlay!

The Track Bias

The Canterbury track bias continues to strongly favor early speed in sprints as nearly half of the races carded at 5.5 and 6 furlongs have been won gate to wire.  The national average is about 25%. Being on or near the lead is a must right now and deep closers in sprints can be eliminated with virtual certainty.

The Odds

Here is a breakdown of the odds of horses and corresponding win percentages. Note the two significant gaps at less than 7/2 and also greater than 9-1.

Odds      Winners      Win %       ROI

0.1-1.4        25/49        51%        $0.97

1.5-3.4        30/101        30%        $0.98

3.5-5.9        11/98        11%        $0.62

6.0-7.9        5/52        10%        $0.79

8.0-9.9        4/43       9%        $0.93

10.0-14.9        1/84        1%       $0.14

15.0-19.9        1/51        2%        $0.34

20.0 and up        2/80        3%        $0.81

Favorites are still doing very well, winning at a 45% clip. Approximately 2 of every 3 races have been won by low-odds, logical contenders. The next range is the key range to generating those big overlay Pick 4 tickets. About 25% of the winners fall in the 7/2 to 9-1 range.  If you can sneak two or three winners into the Pick 4 that are paying at least 7/2 odds it can be a very lucrative ticket. Lastly, as you can see from the above chart, less than 2% of the horses that have gone off at double digit odds this year have actually found the winners circle. It’s deep water but if you must swim, prices in this range are more likely to happen in turf races going forward.

Maiden races continue to be very formful. Twenty one out of twenty three maiden races have been won by a horse at 3-1 odds or lower. The public is in tune with the maiden races at Canterbury Park so far.

Good Luck in Week 4!

This blog was written by Canterbury Regular “The Oracle”. The Oracle is a longtime Minnesota race fan that has handicapped Canterbury’s races religiously for more than 20 years. He writes about handicapping and statistical trends in Canterbury’s races.

Week 2 in Review (Stats & Trends)

The skies didn’t cooperate over Memorial weekend, as rains forced all the racing action onto the main track. Uncertain track conditions didn’t stop the public from being sharp all four days, as only five winners paid 5-1 or above and 8-1 was the biggest price of the weekend. The $1 Pick 4 payoffs ranged from $42.70 to $1,415.30, and all eight Pick 4 returns paid above the win parlays for the sequence. The overlays ranged from 25% to 269% as the Pick 4 continues to be an excellent bet with this year’s reduced takeout of 14%.

The Track Bias

The Canterbury track has been strongly favoring speed, especially in dirt sprints over a fast track. So far, in 30 fast track sprints run at 5.5 or 6 furlongs, 16 of those races were won in wire to wire fashion. Additionally, 27 of the 30 winners were running in the top 3 at the first call of the race (2 furlong mark). Speed is dominating! Compare those numbers to the national average for wire to wire sprint winners (25%) and it’s easy to see the track bias that has materialized over the first two weeks. It’s worth paying attention to each and every night.

Winners Previous Start

Here are the updated numbers for the major tracks the winning horses shipped from (minimum 10 starts), and how they are doing over the first two weeks:

Prairie Meadows: 12 winners from 56 starters. ROI 0.85

Hawthorne: 10 winners from 31 starters. ROI 1.01

Fonner Park: 5 winners from 40 starters. ROI 0.65

Turf Paradise: 5 winners from 45 starters. ROI 0.42

Canterbury Park: 5 winners from 95 starters. ROI 0.41

Oaklawn Park: 4 winners from 21 starters. ROI 1.27

Tampa Bay Downs: 4 winners from 21 starters. ROI 0.61

Remington Park: 3 winners from 11 starters. ROI 1.34

Horses making their previous starts at Canterbury Park, Tampa Bay Downs, Fonner Park and Turf Paradise are underperforming so far with regard to ROI.

Slow Starting Stats

The cold stats from week one continued in week two. First time starters are now 0 for 17, horses running on first time Lasix are 0 for 20, and horses with Morning Line odds of 10-1 and higher are now 1 for 87 for the 2012 meet.

Maiden Chalk

One final note for this week: There have been 14 maiden races run so far totaling 103 horses. Seventy six horses have had off odds of 7/2 or greater, and they are 0 for 72. All fourteen winners have paid 3-1 or lower. As I mentioned in the 2012 preview, maiden races at Canterbury are a good place to look for singles in the Pick 4 wager.

Good luck next week!

This blog was written by Canterbury Regular “The Oracle”. The Oracle is a longtime Minnesota race fan that has handicapped Canterbury’s races religiously for more than 20 years. He writes about handicapping and statistical trends in Canterbury’s races.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography