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Blog - GAMBLING

Horse racing is a game of inches, or potentially shorter depending on the margin of victory or defeat that may have impacted your bet. When Trakus compares performances within a race, it can sound meaningful to some and trivial to others. 

While one could suggest that a horse traveling 40 feet more than another within the same race could be a significant difference, in some cases, that could be exactly what one would expect.  As we explain below, a horse that breaks from gate two at Woodbine going 1 1/16 miles on the synthetic Polytrack surface is projected to cover 39 feet less than a horse breaking from gate ten in the same race. The post-position draw serves, effectively, as a handicap. Trakus, reviewing all the races run at the distance from the 2011 season at the suburban-Toronto track, has simply quantified the expected impact of wider draws.       

Considering the data, we are not simply tracking how far a horse traveled in a race, but also, how the jockey steered that horse through the race – choosing an inside or outside path, covering varying amounts of ground. Their split-second decisions impact the final statistics we consume after the race.

As the 2012 Del Mar meeting commenced, our blog highlighted the “Jockey Efficiency Ratings” (JERs) for the riding colony there from last year’s meet. Racing for just seven weeks, arriving at a more complete analysis of riding styles and ground-loss tendencies is challenging.  Fortunately, the Trakus details from Woodbine races offer a greater sample size to study, and in this week’s blog, we offer a more complete analysis for your review.

To commence the study, we took one distance at which there were many races, and the chances for ground loss were better than others (1 1/16 miles on Polytrack). Races at seven furlongs, for example, would not be most revealing as the horses have a half-mile to run before encountering a turn. 

Below, the chart identifies each post position, the average number of feet covered by every starter tracked by Trakus at the 2011 season at Woodbine. Next, the “delta” is the difference between that post’s average ground coverage and the most efficient post – in other words, this is extra ground a horse would be expected to cover based solely on post position. The delta is then converted to lengths for enhanced applications.  For example, breaking from post six going 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack, the average of all horses who started from that gate during the 2011 season at Woodbine was 5,705 feet, 30 feet more than horses who break from post one. Thirty feet equates to roughly 3.53 lengths of extra ground.

Woodbine - 1 1/16 Miles - Polytrack

Post

Feet Covered

Delta

Lengths

1

5675

-

-

2

5681

6

0.71

3

5687

12

1.41

4

5694

19

2.24

5

5700

25

2.94

6

5705

30

3.53

7

5710

35

4.12

8

5711

36

4.24

9

5715

40

4.71

10

5720

45

5.29

11

5722

47

5.53

12

5729

54

6.35

 

There were more than 300 races run at the 1 1/16-mile distance on Polytrack last season, and all starters tracked had their final ground-coverage numbers compared with the average of starters that broke from the same stall in the starting gate. The numbers in the chart, and there are many of them, might seem confusing at first. A full explanation appears below the chart.  Inclusion to the study required at least 50 mounts and one win at the distance.

Rank

Jockey

Avg Delta

Mounts

Wins

WinnerOdds-1

WinnerDelta

$2 ROI

1

Da Silva, E

-10.96

118

17

4.00

-14.07

$1.44

2

Ramsammy, E

-7.92

133

13

7.67

-16.37

$1.70

3

Stein, J

-7.17

140

20

6.76

1.69

$2.22

4

Bahen, S

-4.13

99

9

7.02

-0.42

$1.46

5

Moran, D

-2.36

108

7

7.80

-14.05

$1.14

6

Dos Ramos, R

-1.07

54

7

6.81

-0.44

$2.03

7

Callaghan, S

-0.41

73

6

6.50

12.01

$1.23

8

Olguin, G

-0.27

108

16

10.41

-1.63

$3.38

9

Moore, M

0.83

54

2

10.17

5.17

$0.83

10

McAleney, J

1.80

86

8

5.04

2.96

$1.12

11

Welch, Q

3.51

97

12

6.39

-6.06

$1.83

12

Campbell, J

3.93

110

18

5.87

-6.47

$2.25

13

Garcia, D

4.49

73

8

8.85

4.31

$2.16

14

Pizarro, T

4.88

94

12

4.75

11.98

$1.47

15

Contreras, L

5.29

205

44

3.04

9.34

$1.77

16

Alderson, J

6.56

66

1

18.75

30.58

$0.60

17

Wilson, E

7.07

163

25

3.35

9.19

$1.33

18

Moreno, O

7.45

104

11

5.08

7.76

$1.29

19

Husbands, P

8.16

157

44

2.56

8.41

$2.00


Rank: The order of the jockeys from those that covered the least amount of ground, on average, to those whose mounts covered the most ground relative to their starting post position.

Avg Delta: The number of feet, on average, that each jockey’s mount differed from the average ground covered by post position in the previous chart.  For example, if Eurico Da Silva had a mount that broke from post 5, going 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack, and covered 5,690 feet – his delta for that ride would be a -10 (the average is 5,700 feet from post five).  Of all the mounts Justin Stein had at the distance, they averaged covering more than seven feet less than the benchmark for their starting gate.

Mounts/Wins: Number of starts and wins at the distance tracked.

WinnerOdds: The average odds of the winners noted in the previous column. 

WinnerDelta: The average delta of the winners tracked for each of the jockeys. This is an initial attempt to determine what the jockey might do different when they win compared with all other mounts. For example, the winning mounts of Quincy Welch went 6.06 feet less than average expected from their starting gate.

ROI: The return on each $2 bet from every mount at 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack last season. Obviously, while not a Trakus statistic, this is added to provide greater perspective.

JOCKEY EURICO ROSA DA SILVA CELEBRATES A BIG WIN AT WOODBINE

TrakusWoodbine2

Descriptive Example of the JERs

Jesse Campbell, who checked-in with the 12thbest rating overall at 3.93, had 110 mounts tracked at the distance last season at Woodbine, winning 18 of them. The individual deltas of all 110 mounts were averaged to reach the 3.93 feet figure. Each performance is compared individually, which enables the combined averaging – a Campbell mount breaking from post five is compared only with the ground coverage of horses breaking from post five.

The odds of Campbell’s 18 winners were, on average, just shy of 6-to-1 (precisely, 5.87-to-1).  Those 18 winners, however, saved significantly more ground than all of Campbell’s other mounts. Campbell’s winners at 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack covered about 6.5 feet less than the average expected from their posts (precisely, from the WinnerDelta column, -6.47 feet). With an average return of $2.25 for every $2 bet on each horse Campbell rode at 1 1/16 miles, this equates to a 12.5% profit. There are obviously more meaningful applications of a $2 ROI with more narrow criteria than just “mounts at 1 1/16 miles,” but we included this feature for added context.

It is worth noting that jockey Gerry Olguin sports a gaudy 69-percent flat-bet profit for his mounts at the distance. With 16 wins over the 2011 season, and just two over 20-to-1, the highest being a 41-to-1 winner, Olguin’s mounts were often guided through trips with ground coverage relatively average compared with the expected trips as listed above. 

Top Jockeys on Best Horses

The 2011 Woodbine jockey standings were topped by Luis Contreras, Patrick Husbands, and Emma-Jayne Wilson. All three showed a penchant for covering more ground relative to the average expected from their mounts, with Husbands’ rides covering the most ground. 

If riding wide really was the best policy, you would expect all jockeys to pick up on the trend over time. However, notice the odds of the winning mounts each of the three top jocks booted home to victory. Both Contreras and Husbands had 44 wins at the distance last season, but the average odds of those winners were 5-to-2 and 3-to-1, respectively. Wilson isn’t far behind with winning mounts at the distance averaging 3.3-to-1. In the eyes of the wagering public, these top jockeys were on the best horses. 

Does it mean that racing wide is better? It seems more probable that these riders believe they rather keep their horses out of trouble as opposed to saving ground. When they win, all three riders record more ground coverage relative to their starting gate than all mounts, with Contreras’ difference the most notable (5.29 feet from all mounts, 9.34 feet for winners).

What Do You Want To See?

The degree of jockey performance data that exists in the market is wildly limited. As written in this blog before, the number of variables that go into the outcome of a race are many. The information presented in this blog is just part of initial attempts to quantify riding styles and tendencies that previously did not exist. 

Is there something you would be interested in seeing based on the data? Drop us a line. We welcome your comments here on the blog, or via email: press@trakus.com.

Image Description

Pat Cummings

Pat Cummings is the Director of Racing Information for Trakus. Based in Boston, Mass., Trakus provides full-field in-race tracking, instantaneous motion graphics, and real-time information to racetrack operators worldwide. Trakus is currently installed at racetracks in the USA, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Data analysis from Trakus appears on Twitter regularly @TrakusRacing.

Cummings also serves as the editor of DubaiRaceNight.com, a comprehensive website covering racing in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. He has covered the Dubai World Cup on site each year since 2007 and provides selections for the entire season of racing in the United Arab Emirates and full-card analysis for all racing at Meydan. He also is the North American correspondent for Al Adiyat, a Dubai-based weekly racing publication.

Prior to joining Trakus, he worked for seven years in the financial services industry, and has served the racing industry in various capacities since 1999.  Pat was the backup announcer at Philadelphia Park (now Parx Racing) from 1999 to 2009, and also has called cards at Atlantic City Race Course, Louisiana Downs, Lone Star Park, Manor Downs, and Monmouth Park.

A member of the Turf Publicists of America, Pat earned his MBA from Baylor University in Texas and a BA from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania.

 

Image Description

Pat Cummings

Pat Cummings is the Director of Racing Information for Trakus. Based in Boston, Mass., Trakus provides full-field in-race tracking, instantaneous motion graphics, and real-time information to racetrack operators worldwide. Trakus is currently installed at racetracks in the USA, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Data analysis from Trakus appears on Twitter regularly @TrakusRacing.

Cummings also serves as the editor of DubaiRaceNight.com, a comprehensive website covering racing in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. He has covered the Dubai World Cup on site each year since 2007 and provides selections for the entire season of racing in the United Arab Emirates and full-card analysis for all racing at Meydan. He also is the North American correspondent for Al Adiyat, a Dubai-based weekly racing publication.

Prior to joining Trakus, he worked for seven years in the financial services industry, and has served the racing industry in various capacities since 1999.  Pat was the backup announcer at Philadelphia Park (now Parx Racing) from 1999 to 2009, and also has called cards at Atlantic City Race Course, Louisiana Downs, Lone Star Park, Manor Downs, and Monmouth Park.

A member of the Turf Publicists of America, Pat earned his MBA from Baylor University in Texas and a BA from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania.

 

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