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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:00 AM

Charting Two-Year Olds That Are Now Three

The savvy thoroughbred bettor already knows that if they are looking for value during the winter, if they are playing anywhere else, they should also be playing first and foremost at Gulfstream Park.

The south Florida venue features the best horses, the best trainers, the best jockeys and the biggest and most competitive fields of any race operating race track in the nation. But to listen to a number of analysts and bettors alike, even with that backdrop of great racing value, it is mind-boggling that they are nonetheless overly cautious when it comes to betting young horses.

As the calendar turned from 2013 to 2014 all juveniles race horses, whether foaled from late February through May, “officially” turned 3 years old on January 1. But for the purposes of this look at the performances of young horses, maidens and winners alike, we still have a few months where those same horses will run against only their peer 3-year olds, just as they only raced against each other as juveniles.

That being said, let’s get down to making the point that there is certainly just as much reason for betting these youngsters as there is for betting older runners. In fact, the numbers below, gleaned from the results of all the 2-year old races run between Saturday December 6 and Sunday, December 29 make an argument that it might be even more value-positive to bet these horses than it is to wager on their elders.


Number Of Races – 48

Average Field Size – 10.8 Horses

Number Of Favorites Winning – 16…33%...This is virtually right on the National Average for Winning Favorites.

Average Payoff For Winning Favorites…$4.66

Number Of Non-Favorites Winning – 32…67%

Average Payoff (Overall) For Non-Winning Favorites…$24.23

Number Of Non-Favorite Winning At Double Digit Payoffs – 26…54.2%...That is more than half of all 2-year old winners paying double digits.

Average Payoff For Double Digit Non-Favorites…$28.21

Number Of Dirt Races – 29

Number Of Favorites Winning – 12…41.4%

Average Payoff For Dirt Winners…$16.94

Number Of Turf Races – 19

Number Of Winning Favorites – 4…21.1%

Average Payoff For Turf Winners…$18.87

Total Number Of First Time Starters In 48 Races…All In Maiden Races – 88

Total Number Of Winning First Time Starters – 7…(Only 1 Favored Winning First Time Starter).

Average Winning Payoff For Winning First Time Starters…$31.94…NOTE…Had every one of the first time starters been bet, the investment would have been $176 and the total return $223.60…An R.O.I. of $2.54 for every $2.00 wagered. We are certainly not suggesting such a gambit. But it does give you a perfect example of how much value these races for young horse can provide.

Last Out Tracks For Non-First Time Starter Winners:
Gulfstream – 16…Highest Payoff – Sweet Kaleah $117.40
(Average Winning Payoff…$19.68)
Churchill Downs – 7…Highest Payoff – Contributor $6.80
(Average Winning Payoff…$5.00)…NOTE...These are not misprinted numbers. Traditionally CD shippers both here and at Saratoga are by far the most over-bet shippers. 4 of the 7 winners went off as the favorite. Suggestion…Let last out CD runners beat you.
Belmont – 6…Highest Payoff – Nowhere To Run $69.80
(Average Winning Payoff…$23.23)…NOTE…There were also 2 winning favorites, but another two of the six winners paid over $20.00.
Aqueduct – 4…Highest Payoff – Takeoff Your Hat $10.40
(Average Winning Payoff…$5.30)…NOTE…Aqueduct was not much better than CD, what with 3 of the 4 Big A winners going off at odds-on. But this is a small sample and in past years these shippers have done better, while the CD runners have always averaged short payoffs.
Calder – 3…Highest Payoff – C. Zee $19.00
(Average Winning Payoff…$10.87)
Keeneland – 2…Highest Payoff – Rope A Dope $19.20
(Average Winning Payoff…$15.80)
Laurel – 2…Highest Payoff – Tizgale $39.80
(Average Winning Payoff…$21.50)
Woodbine – 1…Highest Payoff – Ba Ba Brat $8.60

Those are a lot of numbers. But they should show you a number of things:

1) – The Value that I spoke of earlier is undeniable because you can’t focus on any given last out track, on dirt or turf, on favorites or longshots or even (despite the overall Positive R.O.I.) placing automatic bets on each first time starter in the maiden races.

2) – Those kinds of opportunities will be with us for the next few months until they begin writing 3-year old and up conditions, especially for maiden races.

3) – The “spread out” nature of where those winners, the deep fields of contenders, where they originated from and the prices they paid should tell you that there is much more to handicapping and winning than just focusing on repeat trends…because for the most part there aren’t any. The only way to get close to finding your share of these Value Winners is to understand true speed and pace, trip handicapping indications, trainer patterns and intents, breeding and a whole lot more.

There are few bettors who can come close to finding winners on their own. That’s what the Full Time Handicappers are for…AND WHY WE TREAT IT SO SERIOUSLY.

Speaking of which, we definitely take it seriously at JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK! You can sign up for my Daily Best Bets online or by calling 1-888-777-4155 and you can also take advantage of some of these very same trends!

Until next time…

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