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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 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