Del Mar Track Analysis: Dirt and Turf Bias Meet to Date
THURSDAY, AUGUST 16, 2018
The marquee race this weekend is the Grade 1, $1M TVG PACIFIC CLASSIC at Del Mar on Saturday. The $300K G1 DEL MAR OAKS and the $250K G2 DEL MAR HANDICAP are co-features on the undercard, so to speak.
With that in mind, we are focusing this week's BIAS report on the Southern California track. Hopefully, we can identify some hidden insights to better handicap the trio of high-roller stakes races.
The Classic is 1 1/4 miles on the dirt. We examined all the races of one-mile or more on the dirt, meet-to-date, to analyze trends. From what we see, winning dirt horses have been running a little closer to the front of the pack: moving from an average position of 3.8 at the quarter pole to 2.7; from 3.5 to 2.7 at the 1/2 mile; and to 2.28 at three-quarters from 2.65.
This graph illustrates the differences.
While one might expect to see a corresponding reduction in average fraction times, that hasn't materialized. Take a look at the average times of winners in the chart below.
As you can see, the improved positioning has little to nothing to do with the speed of the race. It's probably more of a reflection of less quality horse per race. The PACIFIC won't be lacking for quality. Simple regression analysis suggests Saturdays winner will likely revert to early meet standards. DYI handicappers might look for horses that rate off the lead and run late to find winning tickets for the PACIFIC CLASSIC.
Moving on the earlier races, the DEL MAR OAKS and the DEL MAR HANDICAP will both be run on the turf, at 1 1/8 miles and 1 3/8 miles, respectively.
Using the same sort of analysis on the turf, we find the opposite happening with mile marker positioning, but fractions remaining roughly the same. Horses were a little farther back early in the race but started their rally a little earlier; as seen by the slight decrease at the 3/4 pole.
Just like Del Mar Dirt, the average winning fractions didn't change much, but did get a touch slower starting from the 1/2 mile marker, adding a quarter of a second at the half and 0.40 three-quarters.
For the two graded stakes grass races, we'd expect to see the position of the potential winners to stick to form, but the pace to be a little quicker than average. Tomorrow, we'll cover the horses that we believe fit these profiles and share our insights, analysis, picks, and horse racing tips for the TVG PACIFIC CLASSIC, the DEL MAR OAKS and DEL MAR HANDICAP.
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