Looking Back to Plan Ahead

behold the riches

By The Oracle

Understanding statistics in horse racing is a valuable tool in the handicapping process.  Having knowledge of historical results can add perspective and insight as we watch the current year’s races play out.  Using prior year’s statistics, we can identify certain trends that we would like to take advantage of in 2015, and perhaps other trends we would like to avoid.  Here’s a look back at some statistical analysis of the thoroughbred races run at Canterbury Park in 2014 as we search for clues to unlock the 2015 Canterbury Park handicapping puzzle.  Good luck in 2015!

The Favorite

The public was right 36% of the time last year in all thoroughbred races run at Canterbury Park.  That is very close to the national average for all racetracks.  Turf races proved to be the most elusive in that regard, as only 30% of the turf races were won by the favorite.  This is a trend that tends to repeat itself year after year at Canterbury Park!  The most formful races last year were the maiden races and the State-bred races, each with 39% winning favorites on the year.  Keep this information in mind when constructing Pick 3 and Pick 4 tickets this summer.


The Odds

Heavy favorites that went to post at 7/5 odds or lower won 115 races last year out of 253 attempts.  That’s a 45% win rate, but it also shows that these “locks” lost more often than they won.  “The Sure Thing” was a fabulous ‘80’s movie, but it doesn’t exist at the racetrack!

On the other end of the spectrum, there were 17 winners at 20-1 odds or higher last year (including a 75-1 mega-bomb over the turf course!), but over 1,000 runners went to post at those high odds over the course of the summer.  Deep water if you are fishing there!  Historically, Canterbury Park has not been a “longshot” paradise, and last year 75% of the thoroughbred races were won by horses at odds below 6-1.


The Jockeys

The 2014 Champion Jockey wasn’t decided until the very last day, as it was a three-way battle between Ry Eikleberry, Dean Butler and Alex Canchari.  Ry Eikleberry ended up prevailing by a single victory (64-63-63), and he is back this year to defend his title.  Dean Butler is also returning, but it was reported on the http://www.Canterburylive blog that Alex Canchari will not be here for the start of live racing.

Ry Eikleberry compiled 64 wins last year at Canterbury Park, winning with 20% of his mounts.  Eikleberry has always been considered an excellent gate rider, and he didn’t disappoint in his sprint races last year, winning 35 times from 156 races and showing a flat bet profit of 13%.  One of those sprint winners was a $40 dollar bomb!  He was also very good when riding the favorite, winning 44% of the time with a flat bet profit of 6%.  He figures strongly in the jockey standings again this summer.

Dean Butler has won multiple riding titles at Canterbury Park over the years and fell only one victory short last year in that tight, three-way race.  He gave his backers their money’s worth when riding longshots last year, as he posted a flat-bet profit with horses going off at 8-1 and up.  Turf sprints (<1 mile) were his best category as he brought home a $48 dollar winner and showed an 18% flat-bet profit in that category.  He was also a winner across the board in Allowance and Stakes races at Canterbury Park last summer, finishing in-the-money 60% of the time in that category.


The Trainers

The 2014 Champion Trainer was also too close to call until the final day, but Robertino Diodoro ultimately prevailed by 4 wins over Mac Robertson.  Diodoro was in the Top 10 nationally in terms of trainer wins last year, so it’s no surprise that he brought a strong stable to Canterbury Park.  Diodoro’s runners excelled on the dirt last year, as he showed a flat bet profit in both dirt sprints and dirt routes.  He also specialized in claiming races, with over half of his wins coming in those events.

Prior to last year, trainer Mac Robertson had won 9 consecutive training titles at Canterbury Park.  The patrons wagering on Canterbury Park know him well, and his runners are well-supported at the windows.  Because of this, it has become more and more difficult to find profitable angles on Robertson runners as the market has become saturated.  His horses take money, period.  Robertson’s historical patterns of being strong with two-year-olds, turf runners, and Allowance and Stakes types were still true last year, but they were not blindly profitable.  One approach to wagering on Robertson runners is to give his runners a second look if they drift above 8-1 on the tote board.  Despite having only two longshot winners at Canterbury last year, he finished second 8 times and third another 5 times.  Perhaps his luck with longshots will even out in 2015.  Historically, Robertson always has a strong group of Minnesota-bred runners and I would expect that to continue this year as well.

It’s a catch-22 with the top trainers at any meet.  They win a major share of the races and therefore they attract a lot of wagering dollars.  It’s a tricky bob and weave when betting on runners from top barns, so ultimately let the tote board be your guide.

Good luck in 2015.  It promises to be a great season!


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