2017 Canterbury Park Live Meet Preview

By The Oracle

The 2017 live racing season is upon us!  Every year brings a unique excitement for the season to come, as horses arrive from all parts of the country.  The ever-challenging handicapping puzzle brings these horses together, and it’s up to us to predict what will happen once the gates open.

Here’s a look at some final statistics for the thoroughbred races run at Canterbury Park in 2016, as we prepare to unlock the 2017 Canterbury Park handicapping puzzle.  Good luck in 2017!

The Favorite

The public correctly selected the winner 38% of the time in all thoroughbred races run at Canterbury Park last year.  That is 1 percentage-point above the national average for winning favorites at all racetracks in North America over the past year.  This also represents a 4 percentage-point increase in winning favorites at Canterbury from 2015.  Weather issues, resulting in fewer turf races, and slightly smaller field sizes were contributing factors to this increase.  Or, perhaps the players are just getting smarter?  The most formful races last year were in the Maiden Claiming category, which produced winning favorites 48% of the time.  Conversely, the 2-year-old races only had 10 winning favorites from 37 races, a 27% rate.

 The Odds

Last year, heavy favorites that were bet down to 7/5 odds or lower won 138 races out of 290 attempts.  That’s a 48% win rate, but it also shows that these “locks” lost more often than they won.

On the other end of the spectrum, there were 15 winners at 20-1 odds or higher last year, but nearly 1,000 runners went to post at those high odds.  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.

 The Jockeys

Dean Butler and Alex Canchari battled it out for the riding title last year, with Butler prevailing 82 to 81.  They were far ahead of the third place finisher, Orlando Mojica, but it was Mojica who generated the better ROI.  Butler and Canchari are known commodities with much success at Canterbury Park, and finding value with those two becomes a challenging task.  Last year they posted $0.68 and $0.77 ROI’s, respectively, while Mojica was right at $1.00.

Horses ridden by Butler and Canchari can be strong choices for singles in multi-race wagers, but taking a skeptical view when betting to win may be the better way to go.

The Trainers

Mac Robertson came back strong last year, reclaiming the leading trainer title from Robertino Diodoro by a comfortable margin of 71-49.  Robertson won with 30% of his starters, and was especially strong when his horses were favored by the public, winning 47% of the time in that scenario.  Robertson showed a flat bet profit in both maiden special weight races and maiden claiming races, and was pretty consistent on both dirt and turf.  Historically, Robertson has not been one to win with longshots at Canterbury Park, as he was only 6% with horses off at 8-1 and higher last year and those plays returned $0.74 for every dollar wagered.  Expect another strong performance by Robertson in 2017, as he looms the heavy favorite to repeat as leading trainer.

Robertino Diodoro had a down year at Canterbury Park last year by his standards, coming off two consecutive years where he had been the leading trainer.  He won with 19% of his starters locally, and only won with 31% of the horses that went to post as the favorite.  These are numbers that will likely be improved on this year.  Diodoro’s main game is claiming sprints and that is where he is the most dangerous.  Like Robertson, he doesn’t win much at Canterbury Park when his horses aren’t taking action on the tote board.  Last year, he was only 4% locally with horses at 8-1 and higher, and he posted a 12% loss with longshots despite having a 29-1 winner in that sample.  On the other hand, he recently won the Grade 2 $750,000 Oaklawn Park Handicap with Inside Straight at 19-1, so he is heading into the Canterbury Park meet on a very good note.

Good luck playing the 2017 live racing meet at Canterbury Park! The fun begins Friday!

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