2004, Number 35
Inside This Newsletter
2004 Breeder’s Cup
- Lessons from Prior Years
- Lone Star Park Analysis
- The Breeder’s Cup for Non-ALL-Ways Users
ALL-Ways Version 11 Released
ALL-Ways Version 11 was released during early August 2004. One of the new features is the ability to view all handicapping reports on screen as opposed to requiring they be printed. Version 11 is a major ALL-Ways software upgrade that includes significant new industry innovations. The new Angle Assistant is nothing short of amazing. To obtain details regarding these new features, please visit the What’s New page on the Frandsen Publishing Web site at www.frandsen.com.
Special ALL-Ways Handicapping Profiles aimed specifically at the Breeder’s Cup races to be run at Lone Star Park on October 30, 2004 have been posted in the User’s Corner of the Frandsen Publishing Web site at www.frandsen.com. A separate set of profiles is also available for the special October meet at Lone Star that will be run from October 1st through October 31st.
2004 Breeder’s Cup
Lessons from Prior Years
This is the seventh Breeder’s Cup covered in ALL-Ways Newsletters over the past several years. We thought it would be useful to review this prior coverage and the corresponding Breeder’s Cup results to see what lessons we might learn. We found a number of thoughts, strategies and concepts that seem to have provided consistent, useful help on Breeder’s Cup day. Here is a recap of our favorites.
Proactively Look for Surprises ... Expect the Unexpected
Do not get all wrapped up in the selections of the public or the picks of the “Experts”. Not only are there major surprises on every Breeder’s Cup day, there are significant surprises in most individual Breeder’s Cup races. Take a look at the chart on Page 2 of this newsletter showing the win payoffs and the Exacta, Trifecta and Superfecta payoffs for 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 Breeder’s Cup races. Even the somewhat lower payoffs, by comparison, at the 2002 Breeder’s Cup run at Arlington Park still provided a number of significant opportunities.
Again, surprises are the order of the day on Breeder’s Cup Saturday. To find these surprises, it is necessary to look beyond just speed and class. The best horses based on speed and class are generally the choices of the public and pundits and they have not fared well in the majority of Breeder’s Cup races. Understanding the pace match-ups and the influence of track bias are two very important areas to explore as you look for reasons why the top horses may not win or may not finish in-the-money. And, be sure to read the article that follows on the upcoming Breeder’s Cup at Lone Star Park. You will find some great clues for spotting the surprises in this year’s Breeder’s Cup races.
Do Not Over Handicap for the Winning Horse
Many people spend considerable time, often too much time, handicapping for the most likely winning horse. On Breeder’s Cup Day, we believe a better approach is to narrow down your winning horse selections to 2, 3 or 4 horses. Spend some of the time you save to look for legitimate reasons why the favorite may not do well today and for reasons why one or more long odds horses may do better than the crowd expects. This is where the money is. It is also a good idea to spend time on how you will structure your wagers for any Doubles, Pick 3s, Pick 4s, Exactas, Trifectas and Superfectas you plan to play.
Play Larger Than Usual Exacta, Trifecta and Superfecta Tickets
The really large payoffs on Breeder’s Cup Day tend to come from Trifectas and Superfectas. And, there is no other day in racing that offers so many $2 Exacta payoffs exceeding $100. No doubt there will be selective good Daily Doubles, Pick 3s and Pick 4s. But many of these multiple race wager payoffs are tempered by having one leg and perhaps two legs won by favorites or near favorites. If you do play these multi-race wagers, just be sure that you are confident at least two legs in the wager will be won by non-favorites.
We believe Trifectas and Superfectas provide better “big” wagering opportunities on Breeder’s Cup Day. But, there is a catch. As we have written before, just about any horse running in a Breeder’s Cup race is capable of finishing in-the-money. This means that your actual wagers will need to include many combinations, certainly more than the typical races you play. And, unless you are supremely confident of your selection, using a Key-Horse in these Breeder’s Cup wagers is generally not a good idea. The Breeder’s Cup is the only day of the year we flat out recommend against using a Key-Horse in these wagers. All this means you should be prepared to wager upwards of $100 to $200 on $1 Trifectas and $200 plus on $1 Superfectas. If this is not a comfortable wager, as will be the case for most players, consider sharing a ticket with 2 or 3 other players.If you need further motivation to play Exactas, Trifectas and/or Superfectas and to be willing to play large tickets, just look again at the Breeder’s Cup Payoff Chart to the right. Of the 32 races, 27 Exactas paid more than $100 and 24 Trifectas paid over $1,000. And, 19 of the 26 Superfectas paid over $5,000.
Use the TimeForm Ratings from BRIS to Handicap Foreign Horses in the Breeder’s Cup
There are generally many foreign horses entered into the Breeder’s Cup races. And, many of them will finish in-the-money during the day. These foreign horses often have strong turf backgrounds and, consequently, do particularly well in the three BC turf races. Remember that it is expensive to bring these horses to North America for the Breeder’s Cup races. The connections of these horses obviously believe they have a good chance of earning some purse money. So, how do you handicap these horses when there is very little past performance information available to us? First and foremost we recommend purchasing the TimeForm ratings from BRIS. These ratings and comments cover all horses running, including both North American and foreign horses. Also, pay particular attention to the BRIS Class Ratings for foreign horses. Class has been a very important handicapping consideration for Breeder’s Cup races run on the turf and these are the races that will have the most foreign horses in the fields. Finally, give some extra credit to foreign horses that are running with Lasix. More often than not, this is the first time they have used Lasix and it can help the horses kick their performances “up a notch”.
Breeder’s Cup Payoffs
Churchill Downs 2000
Belmont Park 2001
Arlington Park 2002
Santa Anita 2003
* Dead Heat for Win
2004 Breeder’s Cup
Lone Star Park Analysis
For the first time, the Breeder’s Cup will be run at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas. Grand Prairie is a suburb between Dallas and Fort Worth. The track was opened on April 17, 1997 and has gone through a $7.8 million expansion just for this year’s Breeder’s Cup. The regular meet at Lone Star starts in April and ends in July. This year, Lone Star will run a special meet from October 1st through October 31st, including Breeder’s Cup day itself on Saturday, October 30th. A reminder: Handicapping Profiles are available in the User’s Corner of the Frandsen Publishing Web site for this special October meet at Lone Star including special profiles for Breeder’s Cup day.
Lone Star Park is a bit of an unknown track for many, if not most, handicappers. It certainly is not as well understood as some of the venues of past Breeder’s Cup races such as Santa Anita, Belmont Park, Churchill Downs and Gulfstream Park. In this article, we are going to explore Lone Star Park in some depth. In preparing this analysis of Lone Star, we uncovered some very powerful insights that may well lead you to some of the big Exacta, Trifecta and Superfecta payoffs.
Here are the races on the Breeder’s Cup race card:
|Distaff||1 1/8 mile||$2.0 mil|
|Juvenile Fillies||1 1/16 mile||$1.0 mil|
|Mile||1 mile turf||$1.5 mil|
|Sprint||6 furlongs||$1.0 mil|
|Filly/Mare Turf||1 1/4 turf||$1.0 mil|
|Juvenile||1 1/16 mile||$1.5 mil|
|Turf||1 1/2 turf||$2.0 mil|
|Classic||1 1/4 mile||$4.0 mil|
There will also be four under-card races, each having a $100,00 purse.
We used our ALL-Ways Race Database for Lone Star Park, which consists of approximately 2,000 races. We restricted the analysis to Allowance and Stakes races with an ALL-Ways Race Rating of at least 116. So, we are looking at the better quality races run at Lone Star.
The BC Sprint is a six furlong race. These races are sometimes won by favorites or near favorites and sometimes by very long odds horses. But, as the Breeder’s Cup Payoff Chart shows, even when the favorite wins the Sprint, the Exacta, Trifecta and Superfecta payoffs are generally very large. This is because the place, show and 4th place finishers tend to be high price horses. There is one overriding reason for this. The BC Sprint almost always has a lot of early speed. The races are often filled with multiple Early (“E”) running style horses, all wanting the lead. This sets the BC Sprint up for higher priced horses coming from off-the-pace to finish in-the-money. And, you are about to see why this is almost a certainty at this year’s Breeder’s Cup at Lone Star Park.
Let’s start by looking at the Lone Star track bias statistics for dirt sprints using the Position and Beaten Length Analysis in ALL-Ways software. ALL-Ways software provides this information for all points of call and for both win horses and place horses. For our purpose, we will focus on the 2nd Call statistics for the winning horses. The 2nd Call is at the 4 furlong mark in the sprints.
Second Call Position and Beaten Lengths for Lone Star Park Dirt Sprints
Here is how you read this chart: Winning horses were 1st at the 2nd Call 26% of the time. Winning horses were either 1st or 2nd at the 2nd Call 39% of the time (26% + 13%). Winning horses were on the lead or within one length of the leader at the 2nd Call 62% of the time. Winning horses were either leading or within 2 lengths of the leader 76% of the time (62% + 14%). Winning horses were either leading or within three lengths of the leader 81% of the time (62% + 14% + 5%).Let’s now look at the Impact Values for the four basic horse running styles of Early (“E”), Early Presser (“EP”), Presser (“P”) and Sustainer (“S”). This data is from the ALL-Ways Impact Value Analysis for high class dirt sprints at Lone Star Park.
Winner Running Style Impact Values for High Caliber Lone Star Park Dirt Sprints
Running Style “E” “EP” “P” “S”Impact Values 1.11 1.10 .87 .94
Both the 2nd Call Position/Beaten Lengths Analysis and the Running Style Impact Values show us that Lone Star Park is very kind to off-the-pace horses in high caliber dirt sprints. This is not the norm at most tracks in North America. Compare these figures to those for Belmont and Santa Anita. Winning horses at Santa Anita were either 1st or 2nd 68% of the time compared to only 39% at Lone Star Park. And “E” and “EP” horses had winning Impact Values of 1.65 and 1.34 respectively. Belmont Park winners were either 1st or 2nd at the 2nd Call 73% of the time, again compared to only 39% at Lone Star.Couple the “kind to closers” Lone Star track bias with the likelihood that there will be a lot of early speed in the BC Sprint and you have an almost certainty that horses from off-the-pace will fill at least three of the top four finish positions, and perhaps all four, in the BC Sprint. Look for boxcar Trifecta and Superfecta payoffs.
Here are the best handicapping factors identified by the ALL-Ways Impact Value Analysis for high caliber dirt sprints run at Lone Star in terms of both Impact Values and return on $2 win wagers. Remember that an Impact Value above 1.0 means horses with the attribute won more than their fair share of races and that a $2 ROI above $2.00 means wagering on all horses with the attribute was a profitable situation.
Best Handicapping Factors for High Caliber Dirt Sprints at Lone Star Park
|Hall Wgt Total||2.18||$2.23|
|Hall Final Fraction 2/3||2.00||$2.89|
|Hall Late 2/3||2.17||$2.75|
Wgt Total = Weighted moving average of Speed + Early Pace, a measure of a horse’s form.
ACL = BRIS Average Competitive Level
PCR = Performance Class Rating
FF = Final Fraction Pace
Late = Speed + Final Fraction
2/3 = Average of best 2 out of last 3 races
Some explanations are needed here. ALL-Ways software includes both BRIS pace and speed figures and Hall pace and speed figures. Both the BRIS and Hall figures adjust a horse’s performances for the Daily Track Variant and, if necessary, make a track-to-track adjustment as well. The Hall figures go one step further. The Hall figures also adjust the horse’s performances to what they likely would have done at today’s exact distance and surface. In other words, the Hall figures are “normalized” to the race the horse is running in today. As a general rule, the BRIS figures will have higher Impact Values and the Hall figures will point to higher priced horses. However, the Hall figures are particularly powerful for horses shipping in from another track and changing distance, even a minor change in distance. This is, of course, the norm for horses running in Breeder’s Cup races.
The Scott Performance Class Rating is almost always a good handicapping factor in Breeder’s Cup races. The PCR figure is a measure of a horse’s class with heavy weight being given to the size of the fields the horse has been facing. Again, large fields are the norm on Breeder’s Cup day. And, Lone Start Park is noted for its large fields in normal races. Field sizes of 12 and 14 horses are frequently seen at Lone Star. This adds to the reliability of Lone Star statistics when handicapping the Breeder’s Cup races.One last item, the Impact Values for the BRIS Prime Power and ALL-Ways Comprehensive ratings are 2.25 and 2.0 respectively. However, the Return on $2 Wagers are only $1.27 and $1.21, both yielding substantial flat bet losses. Again, you must look beyond the obvious “best horses” to hit the large payoffs that will most likely appear on Breeder’s Cup day.
So, in the BC Sprint, look for closers who have acceptable class and speed and strong late runs. By placing emphasis on the Hall Speed and Pace figures and you should be able to spot the high priced in-the-money finishers that will almost certainly generate large Exacta, Trifecta and Superfecta payoffs.
This analysis covers the BC Distaff, the BC Juvenile Fillies, the BC Juvenile and the BC Classic.
Here are the same analyses shown earlier for Dirt Sprints, but this time the figures are for winners of high caliber dirt routes run at Lone Star Park.
Notice the shift in these bias statistics more towards horses that like to run up close compared to the almost neutral bias on dirt sprints.
Winner Running Style Impact Values for High Caliber Lone Star Park Dirt Routes
Running Style “E” “EP” “P” “S”
Impact Values 1.42 1.11 1.20 .45
This makes it pretty obvious that “E”, “EP” and “P” horses have a better chance in high caliber dirt routes than they do in high caliber dirt sprints at Lone Star Park. Remember that “S” horses had an almost neutral Impact Value of .94 for dirt sprints compared to 0.45 in dirt routes. This is certainly counter-intuitive and may be a nice piece of handicapping information to help you find the surprise, high priced, in-the-money horses in the BC dirt routes.
Here are the best handicapping factors:
Best Handicapping Factors for High Caliber Dirt Routes at Lone Star Park
|Hall Wgt Total||2.18||$2.31|
|Hall Speed 2/3||2.04||$2.58|
|Hall Call 1 Pace 2/3||2.32||$2.65|
|True Dirt EP||2.11||$2.87|
|Hall Total 2/3||1.91||$2.42|
|BRIS Prime Power||3.37||$2.71|
True Dirt EP = BRIS Pace figure from the gate to the 2nd Call in high caliber dry dirt routes.One other statistic of note has to do with the rail post position bias at Lone Star. If we look at all dirt routes, the rail has an Impact Value of 1.46. If we look at just the high caliber dirt routes, the Impact Value for the rail increases to 1.94.
Summarizing all of this for the BC dirt route races, pay particular attention to “E”, “EP” and “P” horses, giving extra credit to the horse on the rail. Also, as was the case for dirt sprints, pay particular attention to the Hall Pace and Speed figures for BC dirt route races. Finally, “up the ante” on the top BRIS Prime Power horses if they are going off at decent prices. One word of caution here: Shift your thinking a little bit more towards deep closers in the 1 1/4 mile BC Classic. It is a long race and closers will have more distance to catch the front runners.
This analysis covers the BC Mile, the BC Fillies and Mares Turf and the BC Turf. The statistics below are based primarily on 1 1/16 and 1 1/8 mile turf routes with a few races of 1 1/4 mile or longer. Once again, you will want to adjust your thinking more towards deep closers when handicapping the longer 1 1/2 mile BC Turf.
Second Call Position and Beaten Lengths for Lone Star Park Turf Routes
No surprise here. Turf Routes are almost always kind to horses that like to run from off-the-pace.
Winner Running Style Impact Values for High Caliber Lone Star Park Turf Routes
Running Style “E” “EP” “P” “S”
This shows us something very interesting. Generally, there are not many “E” horses running in Turf Routes. It is just the nature of these races. If there is an “E” horse in a Breeder’s Cup turf race, do not ignore it. The Impact Value of 1.84 is significant and the $3.47 return on $2 bets is impressive.
Best Handicapping Factors for High Caliber Turf Routes at Lone Star Park
|BRIS Wgt Total||2.06||$1.63|
|BRIS True Class||2.60||$2.02|
|Hall Speed 2/3||2.15||$2.47|
|BRIS Call 1 2/3||1.91||$2.66|
|Hall Final Fraction||1.63||$2.71|
FCP = 1st Call Position Rating
This confirms that a horse likely to have a lead at the 1st Call is a threat to win the race. If the horse is an “E” runner, it is all the more likely. You will not want to leave such horses out of your wagers for turf routes.
It is often difficult to find profitable handicapping factors in turf routes based on speed and/or class. BRIS and ALL-Ways software users will have a decided advantage because they have handicapping factors that are not in the hands of the general public.
So, for Breeder’s Cup turf routes, tend to favor off the pace horses, but do not ignore an ”E” running style horse, if there is one. Pay particular attention to the handicapping factors shown above with emphasis on the Hall figures. And, be sure to handicap the shippers coming in from overseas by looking at the Time Form Ratings. Foreign horses will surely figure in each of the three BC turf races.
Finally, the BRIS Prime Power and ALL-Ways Comprehensive ratings have decent Impact Values of 1.84 and 2.41 respectively, but they have unprofitable flat $2 bet results of $1.22 and $1.53 respectively. Again, it pays to look beyond the obvious favorites.
The Breeder’s Cup for Non-ALL-Ways Users
Even if you are not currently an ALL-Ways software handicapper, you can still easily use ALL-Ways software just for Breeder’s Cup day. Here is how:
1. Download and install the FREE ALL-Ways software from the BRIS Web site;
2. Do the practice handicapping session described in the 2-page Quick Start Guide. It will only take a few minutes;
3. Download the special Lone Star Park Breeder’s Cup Handicapping Profiles from the Frandsen Publishing Web site;
4. For the Breeder’s Cup itself, simply download the ALL-Ways software data file from BRIS and repeat what you did in Step #2 above.
That’s it. It really is that easy. We suggest you print the Paceline Report and the All Factors Report. This will arm you with everything you need to handicap the Breeder’s Cup using the information presented in this newsletter. You may also want to print out the Search Report that will show you horses with an important Gap advantage and that will identify the best early running and best late running horses.
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