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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 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