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Canterbury Park First Half in Review

By The Oracle

We recently passed the halfway point of the 2021 Canterbury Park live racing season.  Here is a look inside the numbers at what has transpired on the racetrack so far in 2021.  The following statistics are for thoroughbred races only.

The Odds:      

Favorites are winning 43% of the thoroughbred races at Canterbury Park so far in 2021.  This is six percentage points higher than the national average, and four percentage points above the 2020 Canterbury meet.  A win wager on every thoroughbred favorite at Canterbury so far this meet would have returned $0.94 for every dollar wagered.  It seems likely that both the winning favorites percentage and the ROI on those favorites will decline in the second half of the meet as they would move towards historical levels.

Historically, turf racing at Canterbury Park has yielded a lower percentage of winning favorites than races on the main track.  This is holding true this year, as favorites on the turf are winning at a 34% rate compared to 48% winning favorites on the dirt.  In fact, betting all favorites in dirt races so far in 2021 would have yielded a 2% flat bet profit.  While this number is likely to decline in the second half of the meet, the general rule of thumb that favorites win more often on the main track than on the turf should hold true.  If you are looking for “most likely winners” to anchor horizontal wagers, the main track is the best place to start.

Regarding extreme longshots, there have been seven 20-1 and up winners this year.  Four of those seven longshot winners occurred on the main track (2 sprints and 2 routes) and three were in turf routes.  But big longshots are elusive at Canterbury Park, as 407 horses have gone to post at greater than 20-1 odds with 7 winning.  That’s a win percentage from that sample of about 2%.  Maiden claiming races continue to be the most formful class level at Canterbury Park, with no big longshot winners and 62% winning favorites from 34 races.  (Historically, maiden claiming races have yielded winning favorites approximately 45% of the time).

The Jockeys:

Looking at the top ten jockeys in the standings, the All-Star performer for best return-on-

Quincy Hamilton

investment (ROI) was Quincy Hamilton.  Quincy is currently eighth in the standings with 16 wins from 104 mounts (15%), and he is returning an impressive $1.16 for every dollar wagered on his mounts.  Hamilton has been consistent on both the main track and the turf, with 12 main track wins and 4 turf wins so far.  One of those turf wins was aboard 37-1 longshot Papa Rizzo on opening night that triggered the only Pick 5 carryover of the meet so far.    Papa Rizzo had been competing in 5-furlong turf sprints at Sam Houston prior to his Canterbury victory on opening night.  Quincy has also been reliable on favorites, winning with 7 of 14 horses that have been favored.  Quite an impressive performance by Quincy Hamilton in the first half of the meet!

The Trainers:

Mac Robertson and Robertino Diodoro historically dominate the trainer standings from a win

David Van Winkle

perspective and this year is no different.  However, from an ROI perspective, the All-Star award goes to David Van Winkle, who is returning a generous $1.42 for every dollar wagered on his horses.  David is tied for eighth in the trainer standings with 10 wins from 63 starts (16%).  Of his 10 winners, 7 of them have come sprinting on the main track.  However, his two biggest priced winners have both come on the turf course as he scored with 10-1 Jazzy Times in a 5-furlong $100K Stakes race and followed that up a week later with 46-1 super bomb Real Lute, who prevailed in an $8k claiming race on the turf at 1m1/16th.  Those two winners were enough to push Van Winkle’s ROI positive for the 2021 meet so far.  Congratulations to David Van Winkle for an excellent first half to the 2021 season!


That’s a brief look at how the favorites fared and who the top jockeys and trainers were over the first half of the Canterbury Park live meet from an ROI perspective.  Notice that the leading riders and trainers from a win perspective do not show up high on the ROI list.  The public tends to over bet the leading jockeys and trainers so it pays to keep an open mind.  Good luck in the second half of the meet!

The Oracle is six-time Canterbury Park Handicapper of the Year and a regular contributor to