September 26, 2022

How to bet the Arlington Million undercard

We’ve been having some fun with Arlington Park stats leading up to the International Festival of Racing on Saturday, August 11, at Arlington International Racecourse.

E.g., I thought it was interesting that no trainer with the last initial “A” has started a horse in any of the Grade 1 races–the Arlington Million, the Beverly D, and the Secretariat–that are part of the festival, and as silly as that piece of information is, it did lead to a great follow-up question from Twitter user @_tshort44

Limiting our stats to any non stakes on the Million undercard since Arlington installed Polytrack (2007) gives us 21 jockeys with at least 10 mounts in non stakes races on Million day the past 11 seasons. Unsurprisingly Jose Valdivia Jr. is a leading rider in this setting with 5 wins from 14 mounts and a robust +99.2% ROI. No other rider has even 4 wins in this setting. Notable doughnuts include Julio Fleix (0/25) and Timothy Thornton (0/19).

One guy to pay attention to when the big money is on the line is Florent Geroux, who is 1-for-26 in undercard races on Million day but 7-for-29 in added money events. In fact, those 7 wins lead all jockeys by stakes wins on Million day since 2007, and it’s a “long” way back to Kent Desormeaux (4/17) and Ryan Moore (4/11) in second. All top 3 riders in this category have positive flat-bet ROIs in Million day stakes events.

On the trainer side of things, 38 have saddled at least 5 starters on the Million undercard (again, we’re defining this as any non-stakes race) with Wayne Catalano the leading conditioner by wins and starts. He’s 5-for-26 (19.2%) but has a -33.8% ROI. I.e., he’s overbet.

Scott Becker and Moises Yanez are the only other trainers with 3 wins in the Polytrack era and both have big ROIs thanks to those 3 wins.

On the negative side of things, Roger Brueggemann is winless from 13 undercard tries, though of course he did land the ultimate prize when The Pizza Man won the 2015 Arlington Million. Other notable locals winless on the undercard in the Polytrack era are Louie Roussel III (0/7), Gennadi Dorochenko (0/6), and Danny Peitz (0/5).

Looking specifically at maiden special weight races on Million day in the Polytrack era, incredibly no trainer has won more than one of these! Big names Tom Proctor (0/6) and Chris Block (0/5) are the notable nonwinners.

Finally, on the sire side of things, there have been 137 sires whose progeny have made at least 100 starts on Arlington’s Polytrack with Tactical Cat getting my blue ribbon for ranking 2nd in win % (28/102, 27.4%) and first in ROI (+9.1%). Other top ROI sires are Margies Wildcat (32/140 [22.8%] +25.1%), Empire Maker (28/130 [21.5%] +22.3%), and Offlee Wild (34/158 [21.5%] +7.7%). The worst are Ben Bullben (3/116 [2.5%] -34.0%), Quaker Ridge (6/129 [4.6%] -62.4%), and Shore Breeze (27/574 [4.7%] -56.0%) with an honorable mention to Tapit, whose progeny is just 6-for-104 with a -68.4% ROI. Other top ROI sires on Arlington Polytrack are Whywhywhy, Gold Case, High Cotton, Candy Ride, and Cactus Ridge.

As always, big win totals/ROIs don’t mean bet these people blindly, just as negative numbers shouldn’t be an automatic avoid. They are things to keep in mind when assessing whether a horse is offering value (or not) in various pools.


1 Comment on How to bet the Arlington Million undercard

  1. thanks for all the useless stats! you would fit right in at ESPN.

    I made a fact of my own: A writer named Ed DeRosa has never written a halfway competent article on how to bet the Arlington Million undercard.

    How’d I do?

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