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Blog - GAMBLING

In our continuing quest to identify the degree to which ground loss matters in any particular race, Trakus sorted the average ground covered by finishing position for two distances at two separate tracks. The results we uncovered could not have been more different.

Trakus accumulated data for races at distances of six furlongs and 1 1/16 miles on synthetic Polytrack surface over the last four meets at Keeneland Race Course, beginning with fall 2010, and all races at the current Woodbine meet through September 22. Racing only six weeks a year, the spread over four meets was necessary to obtain a comparative sample of races from Keeneland. Below is the data, followed by some specific highlights.

Average Ground Traveled by Finishing Position

Finish Position

Keeneland

Woodbine

 

Keeneland

Woodbine

6 Furlongs

 

1 1/16 Miles

1st

3997

4011

 

5682

5697

2nd

4001

4011

 

5683

5697

3rd

4001

4010

 

5687

5694

4th

4001

4014

 

5688

5696

5th

4002

4008

 

5691

5695

6th

4002

4013

 

5691

5695

7th

4003

4011

 

5693

5696

8th

4004

4012

 

5695

5693

9th

4005

4012

 

5695

5694

10th

4005

4015

 

5695

5695

11th

4008

4019

 

5692

5694

12th

4007

4012

 

5690

5691

 

Highlights from the data

  • Winners at Keeneland covered the least amount of ground compared to any other finishing position, either at six furlongs or 1 1/16 miles. 
  • The gap between winners and any other finishing position was greatest in races at six furlongs at Keeneland.
  • Winners and second-place finishers at Woodbine covered the most amount of ground (which was the same amount - 5,697 feet) in 1 1/16 miles races.
  • The range of feet-traveled for horses in the top half of all finishing positions from races at Woodbine was six feet for races at six furlongs (4008 – 4014) and only three feet in 1 1/16 miles races (5,694 – 5,697). At Keeneland, those same numbers were five feet at six furlongs (3,997 – 4,002) and nine feet at 1 1/16 miles (5,682 – 5,691).
  • Races at Keeneland generally saw less ground coverage than those at Woodbine, suggesting that ground loss matters more at Keeneland than at Woodbine.

Potential Conclusions

Reaching absolute conclusions from the above data is challenging, so we offer some cursory glances with the data. On the surface, it appears that more efficient (less-ground-covered) trips yield better results at Keeneland, something that you would typically expect on most tracks. All racing surfaces are subject to localized changes based on weather and course preparation, but it is difficult to peg the performance of Polytrack into a particular stereotype, as the Keeneland and Woodbine results vary significantly in this focused study. 

There is anecdotal evidence that wider trips are more advantageous at the Toronto oval, and even the jockey efficiency ratings published here several weeks ago showed the winningest riders often covered more ground relative to the averages expected from each post position.  Those same ratings also showed that the wider riding jockeys are often the most successful, with Patrick Husbands, Luis Contreras, and Emma-Jayne Wilson accounting for more than 40% of all wins out of the 19 jockeys that qualified from 280 races included in the study. Their winners were sent to post at odds of approximately 3-1, whereas the average odds of winning horses not ridden by those three jockeys were almost 7-1. While difficult to suggest that wider is always better at Woodbine, ground loss might not have as significant an impact on race results.

A similar analysis will be conducted around performances and trends on racetracks utilizing dirt in the months to come, and details posted here on this blog. As always, your comments are welcome!  Next week, with Keeneland opening for their autumn session, we will reveal jockey efficiency ratings over the last four meets using the same distances from the study highlighted in this blog. The results might surprise you.

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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