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Blog - GAMBLING

There are many varied ways to win, and lose, a race. Surely, millionaire jockeys and $2 bettors can agree on this point. The data from two somewhat similar races last weekend highlights the differences. Sunday’s Sky Classic Stakes, a Grade 2 race at 1 ¼ miles at Woodbine, was quite possibly the exact opposite of Saturday’s Del Mar Oaks, a Grade 1 event at 1 1/8 miles on turf.   

Sky Classic Stakes

The far turn on turf at Woodbine is a long, sweeping enterprise, giving horses and jockeys the opportunity to lose plenty of ground, expending extra energy that might otherwise be needed for the longest stretch run in day-to-day North American racing. In last year’s Natalma Stakes, eventual Darley Alcibiades and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Stephanie’s Kitten covered 50 feet more than winner Northern Passion – that’s fifty feet around just one turn. The field size in that event was more substantive than Sunday’s Sky Classic, which is essentially a 1 1/2-turn affair given Woodbine’s design, but allowed for ground loss to serve as a potential factor in an otherwise tactical affair. Even our recent jockey efficiency study can be applied to the result. 

First – the basic details of the Sky Classic: Forte Dei Marmi defeated longshot Stormy Lord and German-import Scalo. The longest shot in the field of eight, Miami Deco, was last.  What’s notable about these basic details is that Forte Dei Marmi, ridden by Alex Solis, and Stormy Lord, with Justin Stein, covered the shortest distance amongst the top finishers.  The specifics of the race are below.

 

Horse

Feet

Delta

Jockey

1st

Forte Dei Marmi (GB)

6,739

 -

Solis, A

2nd

Stormy Lord

6,721

-18

Stein, J

3rd

Scalo (GB)

6,733

-6

Rispoli, U

4th

Pender Harbour

6,761

22

Contreras, L

5th

Smart Bid

6,742

3

Prado, E

6th

Hotep

6,787

48

Husbands, P

7th

Eye of the Leopard

6,760

21

DaSilva, E

8th

Miami Deco

6,731

-8

Campbell, J

 

Solis did not make our report of the 2011 Jockey Efficiency Ratings (JERs) from Woodbine as this is his first season riding in Toronto. However, through August 12, in races tracked this meet at the sample distance of 1 1/16 miles on the Polytrack surface, Solis was ranked as the second-most efficient jockey, saving more ground than 23 other riders whose mounts at the distance were surveyed. Justin Stein, third most efficient in our complete 2011 study, also holds that same position out of 25 jockeys studied this meet. A full recap of the 2012 data will be released following the meet’s conclusion. 

While the Trakus JERs are not a direct method to tip winners, they can be helpful in identify likely jockey actions. It is the bettor’s prerogative to apply the overall data to their own analysis of how the race might pan out. Stein, aboard 21-1 long shot Stormy Lord, did everything humanly possible to get his mount to settle, take the lead, and save all the ground while dictating slow fractions. Meanwhile, Luis Contreras and Patrick Husbands, seem to have less interest in saving ground. In the 2011 study referenced earlier, Husbands’s mounts covered the most ground out of 19 jockeys, while Contreras was ranked 15th out of 19. Their mounts in the Sky Classic covered the most (Husbands) and second-most (Contreras) ground in the race. It is worth noting that Eurico Da Silva, the overall leader in the 2011 study, covered 21 feet more than the winner with his mount, Eye of the Leopard.

Ground loss certainly seemed to matter in the overall finish of the Sky Classic.

Del Mar Oaks

Contrary to the Sky Classic, Saturday’s Del Mar Oaks escaped the importance of ground loss, heightened the awareness of when riding wider can be better, and at the same time, clarified our analysis of jockey performance from the 2011 Del Mar meet

Lady of Shamrock, well-backed at even money, rallied from last racing incredibly wide and got up to win the top turf event for 3-year-old fillies at the seaside track, defeating longshots Stormy Lucy (sounds ridiculously similar to “longshot Stormy Lord” from the Sky Classic) and Open Water. Piloted by Mike Smith, Lady of Shamrock covered the most ground in the race, with the next two finishers covering the second, and third-most ground, respectively. The full data from the race is below.

 

Horse

Feet

Delta

Jockey

1st

Lady of Shamrock

6,049

-

Smith, M

2nd

Stormy Lucy

6,044

-5

Pedroza, M

3rd

Open Water

6,043

-6

Delgadillo, A

4th

My Gi Gi

6,003

-46

Talamo, J

5th

Eden's Moon

6,024

-25

Bejerano, R

6th

Long Face

6,015

-34

Espinoza, V

7th

Indigo River (Ire)

5,992

-57

Garcia, M

8th

Mary Fildes (Ire)

6,035

-14

Flores, D

9th

Best Present Ever

5,994

-55

Gomez, G


Mike Smith carried his well-backed mount widest, while Martin Pedroza and Agapito Delgadillo took similar overland routes in an effort to land the Grade 1 spoils, but with horses that were 43-1 and 25-1, respectively. From our linked study of Del Mar jockeys from a year ago, Smith was found to have plotted the widest courses on a regular basis amongst the colony, averaging 12 feet of extra ground relative to the average from each post position. 

There is no doubting that, at times, wider is better. Keeping a horse in the clear inarguably avoids the need for racing luck – a gap to open, a space to clear. The JERs are an attempt to project the long-term expected styles of particular riders, allowing bettors to take those quantitative details into account. Despite breaking from post two, Smith guided his mount outside leaving the backstretch and advanced with aplomb around the tight far turn. Had he raced inside, perhaps the hole would not have opened. Or, perhaps the final margin of victory would have been greater.

The extra ground coverage from a Smith mount was expected. In last year’s richest North American race, we witnessed Drosselmeyer cover 30 feet more than Game On Dude and 52 feet more than Ruler On Ice when winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). If the jockey has the right horse on the right day, the added feet traveled might be of no consequence.  In the Del Mar Oaks, the fillies that traversed the most ground on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course, still had enough to finish well. Ground loss didn’t matter as much, but we got what we expected from most of the riders based on the historical data Trakus compiled.  

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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