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Identifying a Track Bias

Opening DayIdentifying track bias is a very tricky thing. Deciding if a low-priced, inside-traveling, wire-to-wire winner benefited from a rail bias can be very subjective. To get to the heart of it, you really need to have handicapped the race and determined the likely pace scenario. If you are able to identify a trend or bias, it can be very lucrative. This was the case when spotting Sputey’s Cabin as the live longshot of the day on June 2nd.

Sputey’s Cabin had run against an inside bias on opening night. The track was sloppy and no one was doing much on the inside. While some of the winners had won near the lead, they were low priced and were likely to have won from anywhere. The exotics fillers were all coming from far back and on the outside part of the track. Sputey’s Cabin pressed a difficult pace from the rail and hung in until very late and faded slightly to finish 4th beaten only 7 lengths at 50-1 in the Lady Slipper. She was deserving of a big chance when she came back on June 2nd when she drew an inside post on a day that saw the first four races won by rail speed. She went wire-to-wire and hung in gamely to win at nearly 11-1.

There are a couple of runners who ran well against the bias that are running back on Thursday. Al Musaddad in the 8th race is coming off a race in which he closed right up the rail. While closers fared decently on that day, the rail was absolutely dead. He deserves a bump up. Jantzesfancyfriend was 5 wide the entire race on a day that the inside part of the track was golden. He is 4-1 in the 9th race. Ridgeofstone, in race 10, is 6-1 and might deserve a look after she set the pace on a turf course that was heavily slanted towards deep, outside closers. None of these runners should be played solely on the fact that they ran against a bias last time out, but be given additional credit for their effort.

Below is the track bias chart (click to enlarge) from the eyes of this handicapper. It might be worthwhile to refer to this chart this weekend as we are starting to see runners come back from race days where the bias was significant.

Track Bias

This blog was written by Track Phantom, a contributing handicapper for the Del Mar and Santa Anita websites. He has offered public analysis for Canterbury for 15 years and has closely followed Minnesota racing since he first visited the track in 1986. He was in person for most live races from 1986 through 2003 (when he relocated to Austin, TX). His analysis, information and blog can be found at