The 2016 live racing season is just a few short days away. The barns on the backside have come to life, bringing a promise of full fields and competitive racing. A new, lower takeout this year of 15 percent on win-place-show wagers, and 18 percent on exotic wagers has made Canterbury Park one of the most attractive wagering venues in the country. With full, competitive fields and lower takeout, the pieces are in place for a great summer of racing at Canterbury Park!
Here’s a look at some final statistics for the thoroughbred races run at Canterbury Park in 2015, as we prepare to unlock the 2016 Canterbury Park handicapping puzzle. Good luck in 2016!
The public was right 34 percent of the time last year in all thoroughbred races run at Canterbury Park. That is three percentage points below the national average for winning favorites at all racetracks in North America over the past year. Just a few years ago, favorites were winning at close to a 40 percent clip locally, but those days are over. Big fields with deep competition should keep the percentage of winning favorites at Canterbury well below the national average. Combine competitive racing with the reduced takeout, and bigger payouts should be the result. The most formful races last year were in the Allowance/Stakes category, which produced winning favorites 39 percent of the time. Conversely, the 2-year-old races only had 10 winning favorites from 40 races, a 25 percent rate.
Last year, heavy favorites that were bet down to 7/5 odds or lower won 118 races out of 281 attempts. That’s a 42 percent win rate, but it also shows that these “locks” lost more often than they won.
On the other end of the spectrum, there were 19 winners at 20-1 odds or higher last year (including a 79-1 track record payout over the turf course!), but over 1,000 runners went to post at those high odds. Not a lot of fish in that deep water! Historically, Canterbury Park has not been a “longshot” paradise, and last year 77% of the thoroughbred races were won by horses at odds below 6-1.
Leandro Goncalves won the riding title last year, but he is not returning for an encore performance. He was the main rider for trainer Tom Amoss, but they have decided to return to Indiana this year. That opens it up for a few likely contenders, including Dean Butler and Alex Canchari. Butler has won several riding titles at Canterbury Park over the past decade, and Canchari has had good success in previous stints as well. Alex rode particularly well at Oaklawn Park this winter, winning 34 times from 261 mounts and posting an ROI of $1.25 for each $1 wagered.
Robertino Diodoro won his second consecutive Canterbury Park training title last year by a comfortable margin. It’s tough to find profitable angles with him because his horses are bet so heavily, but last year he did have an ROI of $1.11 in dirt routes (9/30). Avoid playing him if his horses are not taking any action, as he was 1/37 at Canterbury last year at odds of 8-1 and above, and only 2 more of those runners finished second. I would use him defensively in horizontal wagers, but not push too hard betting his horses in the win pools. Last year, his runners failed to beat the takeout at Canterbury Park as he returned $0.76 on the dollar if you bet them all.
Mac Robertson won nine consecutive training titles at Canterbury Park from 2004-2013. The patrons wagering on Canterbury Park know him well, and his runners are well-supported at the windows. Historically, Robertson has been a better bet on the turf and in Allowance or Stakes races. He is also rock solid with his 2-year-old runners and Minnesota-breds. Considering his runners in those situations, and looking elsewhere in claiming races has been a solid plan in previous years.
Good luck in 2016. It promises to be a great season!
The Oracle @Oracle65