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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 12:00 AM

THE BEST WAY TO BEAT THE BIAS: PLAY AGAINST IT NEXT TIME

You hear a lot of commentary regarding race track biases and most of the time it is in service to trying to take advantage right then and there.

For instance, if a speed horse or two takes the lead or presses the lead, runs a tick or two faster than they usually do and then still pulls away in the stretch, it is probably a safe assumption that there is a speed bias and like horses can be bet over the surface that day or even a day or two longer should that "bias" hold.

There is no doubt that this observation will help you find a few more winners more easily than you would be able to should the surface be playing honestly but it is also a fact that as biases become pronounced, sharp bettors wager more on horses that fit the bias and the payoffs become deflated.

Given that reality, there might (in the long run) be an even better way to take financial advantage of pronounced biases: you take good notes and bet solid runners that "lost" when they had to run "against" the bias in those same races. For an example of what I’m getting at...
...LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT TWO DAYS AT ARLINGTON PARK

On Saturday and Sunday (May 11 and 12) it was pretty clear that the main (synthetic) track surface was playing to a speed bias (regardless of distance.) The predominant theme was a wire-to-wire winner and the subplot (with only scant deviation) was built around those that pressed the pace and won.

With that as evidence what I will do is list the winners of each of the main track races those two days with definition of how they won AND for purposes of the argument presented herein, will list a few horses that performed well enough AGAINST THE BIAS that they warrant playing in their next race, should the bias no longer be in effect.

(SATURDAY -May 11)

  • Race 1 -1 1/16th Miles
    (Winner) -BREAKING BALL -Second by a length a first and second call...took over by top of stretch.
    (Worth Watching) -BETHEL -11 lengths back at first call, moved sharply to be 4 lengths off at second call and ran on evenly t secure the place.

  • Race 2 -5 ½ Furlongs
    (Winner) -CARSON’S HAWK -One of the two "against" the bias winners on the day...and both were at 5 ½ furlongs.

  • Race 3 -TURF

  • Race 4 -1 1/6th Miles
    (Winner) -STATIC CHARGE -In fourth just 2 lengths back at first call and second call and assumed lead entering the stretch before holding on.
    (Worth Watching) -STATIC CHARGE -Although she won the race utilizing her tactical speed she did so by withstanding a number of other rivals who also challenged her early and late so might be in good form on an honest track as well.

  • Race 5 -TURF

  • Race 6 -1 Mile
    (Winner) -SCOTT’S SUNNYRIVER -Went wire-to-wire.
    (Worth Watching) -NO TIME TO KID -Was 10th of 11 at first call (17 lengths behind) and still 7th (11 lengths back) before a furious rush found him grabbing the place, beaten less than a length while 5 lengths clear of the show horse.

  • Race 7 -6 Furlongs
    (Winner) -WORK ALL WEEK -Went wire-to-wire.
    (Worth Watching) -None as only 2 ½ lengths separated the top five until the winner pulled away late and the other pressers and stalkers staggered home behind him.

  • Race 8 -TURF

  • Race 9 -5 ½ Furlongs
    (Winner) -PLUNDER -The only other off the pace winner (remember, both at 5 ½ furlongs) he caught the almost wire-to-wire winner in the last jump.
    (Worth Watching) -OFFICER DRACO -The first time starter was sent off the favorite and finished fourth, beaten just 3 l3ngths after breaking last of 11.

  • Race 10 -TURF

  • Race 11 -TURF

(SUNDAY -May 12)

  • Race 1 -6 Furlongs
    (Winner) -SO LONG FOR NOW -Went wire-to-wire
    (Worth Watching) -SUNNY SURPRISE -Broke 7th of 8 and in that position (9 ½ lengths back) at first call before moving to 5th (5 lengths back) at second call before leveling off to be beaten 3 ¾ lngths while well clear of the show filly.

  • Race 2 -6 Furlongs
    (Winner) -SAINT LEON -Went wire-to-wire
    (Worth Watching) -None, as the second place finisher broke close in third at both calls, displaced the second place runner but made up no ground.

  • Race 3 -1 Mile
    (Winner) -QUEEN OF HEAT -Went wire-to-wire
    (Worth Watching) -None, as once again the second place finisher was a close third at first call and second at second call and finished second without threatening while 6 lengths clear of the show horse.

  • Race 4 -1 Mile
    (Winner) -BEAR MEDICINE -Went wire-to-wire
    (Worth Watching) -QUEEN OF STYLE -Valiant effort to be beaten just a neck after being 8 lengths back in 6th at first call and 8 ½ lengths back in 4th at second call.
    (Worth Watching) -LIONESS LAHR -Was last of nine at first call (15 ½ lengths back) and in 7th at second call (14 lengths back) before finishing only 3 lengths behind the runner-up.

  • Race 5 -TURF
    Race 6 -6 Furlongs
    (Winner) -STRIKE THE TIGER -Lone non-bias winner on the day he came from dead last so should be double considered vs the same level claimers next time out regardless of how the track is playing.
    (Worth Watching) -None

  • Race 7 -TURF

  • Race 8 -6 Furlongs
    (Winner) -BRICK HOUSE ROAD -Wire-to-wire
    (Worth Watching) -EILEEN EVYLN -The second place finisher settled in 4th at first call (5 lengths back) and moved into second at second call (6 lengths back) and ran evenly to the wire while clear of the show mare.

  • Race 9 -1 Mile
    (Winner) -LOOKS TO SPARE -The first time starter was in 4th at first call but only a length back while pressing the pace, took the lead by second call and opened up late.
    (Worth Watching) -RED BONE -The third place finisher broke towards the rear and was 9th by 12 ½ lengths at first call and moved into 6th by 7 lengths at second call before being beaten a total of 2 lengths.

What was just catalogued is not in any way an absolute, but it should give you an idea of how to not only use the biases to your advantage while they are in place, but just as importantly, back anti-bias horses if they run back when conditions are better.

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