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BIAS REPORT: Belmont Shows Its Hand
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2018
by: Rich Bieglmeier
Belmont Park is about 300 races deep into its fall schedule. That's enough races for us to identify BIASes that can give horse players an edge when handicapping races. Here's what we've uncovered.
Six-furlongs on the dirt is the most common race, meet-to-date, accounting for roughly one out of every four races. If you are playing pick 3s or 4s, odds are the ticket will include a 6-furlong dirt race. So, any advantage is essential in trying to reduce the out of pocket cost of race-to-race wagers.
Edge number one: the inside four posts have been dominant, especially the rail and the four spot. Overall, the inside four have won 51 of the 68, six-furlong dirt races. That's 75%. Narrowing it down a touch, the one accounted for 13 Ws and the four a whopping 21. Together, that 34 of 68 races, a 50%-win rate.
In tote board parlance, if the post-position win percentages stay the same, betting the rail at 4-1 or higher is a smart play, and win odds of 5/2 or higher on the four provides value. No handicapping required, we are just putting that boring, college statistic class to work.
Add in running style, and you can put the numbers to work for you with an even greater advantage. Twenty-four of the 68 races were won wire-to-wire (w2w). That's 35% or essentially 2-1 odds. Extend the 1/4 mile marker call race-position out to third, and 47 of 68 winners (69% ran one, two, or three in the opening quarter.
From a handicapping standpoint, look at the inside four horses, determine which horse is most likely to wire the field and which horses have a history of running in the top three out of the box. Results to-date suggest a high probability you'll find the winner of a 6-furlong dirt race in that group.
One final point of 6-furlong dirt races, don't play speed or the inside two posts on an off track. Only two of 10 went gate-to-wire and both the one and two posts have a win each. Instead, focus on post three and out and horses that stalk the leaders, usually third through fifth in the opening quarter.
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The 6-furlong dirt play:
Fast Track - inside speed
Off Track - outside stalkers
One mile on the dirt is the next most common race at Belmont Park with 31 outings. Seven-furlongs on the dirt isn't too far behind with 28. Let's see what nuggets are hidden in the data.
For one-mile, again, posts one through four is where most of the action is at, accounting for 24 of 31 wins. However, two did a lot of the heavy-lifting, scoring nine times. Whereas the one garnered five Ws, the three found its way home first four times, and the four with six wins.
Pace-wise, w2w is still the most common, with nine winners out of 31 (29% or 5/2 odds) never looking back. It's also important to note that eight of the nine were on a fast surface, only one managed to front run all the way around on the slop.
Statistically, stalkers are the most likely to cash the winner's check. Thirteen to get their photo taken ran third, fourth or fifth in the first quarter mile. That's 42%, a little more than 3/2 odds.
The 1-mile dirt play:
Fast Track - inside speed with a stalker back up, preferably from posts two, three or four.
Off Track - Stalkers with no post preference.
One might suspect to see seven-furlongs be a combination of 6-furlongs and one-mile considering it is the midpoint between the two distances, but no. The distance has the strongest post BIAS of the three, 15 of the 28 seven-furlong winners started the race in lane one or two (54% or lower than even odds).
Eleven of the 28 were wire-to-wire winners, with eight of the 11 breaking from the inside two posts. A horse that likes the lead running from the inside two posts has won at 28.5%. If you can get 3-1 odds or better, take them.
The 7-furlong dirt play:
Fast Track - Lean on the inside two posts, especially front runners
Off Track - Only four races with inconclusive results
The last angle we are going to cover is inner-turf races. Regardless of length, they share many commonalities. The inside three posts are a liability as only 16 of 53 (30%) winners wore a 1, 2 or 3. Meanwhile, 31 of 53 adorned 4, 5, 6 or 7. That's 58% or less than 4/5 odds.
Routes are the only place where w2W speed has much of a chance. It's played that way eight times in the 53, but only once at 6-furlong. Otherwise, the other seven were at 1 1/16th miles or more. Instead, 31 of 53 ran 4th to 7th at the quarter pole. Again, regardless of length.
The inner-turf play: Look for stalkers/closers who typically run around 5th early on and are awarded posts four through seven.
That can obviously include a lot of horses. So, we found that a majority made big moves in the stretch. They raced 4th to 7th and made their move late.
In looking at past-performances, zone-in on the horses that cover the most ground in the stretch and/or have the highest late pace figures. Many winners are most likely lurking in that space.
We hope these BIASes will give you with your handicapping.
Good luck at the races!
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