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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, July 28, 2017 at 5:37 PM

SARATOGA SHOTS
Volume 16...Number 6

OPENING DAYS AT SARATOGA...A FEW OBSERVATIONS

(CHURCHILL, MONMOUTH AND GULFSTREAM CONTINUE YEARLY SHIPPING INFLUENCE...GOOD AND BAD)

At the beginning of any Saratoga Meet conversation invariably gets around to the "influence" of Shippers.

Now that Gulfstream races year round and the focus on the Winter Meet isn't as pronounced, and with Keeneland's short meets falling in early Spring and mid-Autumn, it is not a stretch to declare that during the 40 Day Saratoga Meet more shippers fill the race card than at any other separate meet.

This is especially true during the opening 3-4 weeks of the 7 week meet as many of the shippers who run early will run back after a race over their surface.

With that in mind let's take a look at how shippers did the first 5 days of the meet (through and including Wednesday 7/27.) Below are listed the non-Belmont, Aqueduct or Saratoga tracks where the runners last competed, how many shippers ran during the first 5 days, how many were winners, the percentage of winners, the average payoff of the winners and the R.O.I. (Return On Investment based on a $2 Bet.)

CHURCHILL DOWNS
61 Runners...7 Winners (11.5%)...$42.24...R.O.I. ($4.85)
NOTE: Over the years Churchill Downs has sent by far the largest number of shippers to run at Saratoga. Which is why these early numbers must be flagged due to the fact that ONE OF THE WINNERS PAID $232.50 - not a misprint.)

MONMOUTH
17 Runners...4 Winners (23.5%)...$22.93...R.O.I. ($5.39)
GULFSTREAM PARK
7 Runners...3 Winners (42.9%)...$7.07...R.O.I. ($3.03)
WOODBINE
4 Runners...2 Winners (50.0%)...$9.40...R.O.I. ($4.70)
PARX
13 Runners...1 Winner (7.7%)...$16.20...R.O.I. ($1.25)

(NONE OF THE FOLLOWING - IN ORDER OF NUMBER OF RUNNERS, HAD A WIN)
LAUREL (9)...FINGER LAKES (7)...ELLIS (6)...DELAWARE (5)...PRESQUE ISLE (4)...ARLINGTON (3)...SANTA ANITA (3)...KEENELAND (2)...INDIANA DOWNS (2)...SUFFOLK (1)...MOUNTAINEER (1)...PENN NATIONAL (1)...TURF PARADISE (1)

These are, at this point simply statistics. I can tell you that the breakdown of how many shippers from different tracks run is representative despite the small 5 day sample. There is no reason, given that these provide one of many angles in my handicapping. However, when I do spot the right shipper, we can be confident that by virtue of being a shipper, the betting public WILL NOT HAVE THE INFO I DO and that gives us extra value.

DO YOU KNOW THE WELL-MEANT VS THE JUST RUNNING ALSO RUN SHIPPERS
JIM HURLEY DOES...
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(JUVENILE RACING NO EASIER THAN IT HAS EVER BEEN...PUBLIC KEEPS MIS-FIRING)

When it comes to wagering on juveniles, every year at Saratoga you hear the same knee-jerk canards.

*Juveniles are impossible, there is no form.
*To beat juveniles just follow the tote-board.
*If you are going to bet juveniles just follow Pletcher, Brown and the high priced youngsters and big barns.

To those three bullet points I have three responses. NOT QUITE, NO and NO.

Over the years I have published numerous successful workout patterns which when exhibited by debut trainers tell us the horse is a go first out. On other occasions there are trainers who are not forced to adhere to the hype and are allowed to race their youngsters into success.    

As to betting the tote as a means of cashing juveniles, take a look in the archives at my SARATOGA SHOTS ARTICLE published on July 10.

And as for the Top Trainers and Top Barns. The prices on Pletcher, Brown and their like is such an assumed gimme that the Return On Investment has for years been a depressed commodity.

The early numbers tell you there is money to be made on juveniles...
*10 Juvenile Races The First 5 Days.
*Only 3 Of The 10 Winners Did So As The Favorite...30% - Well Below The Average Percentage Of Winning favorites At Saratoga.
*Only 1 Odds-On Winner.
* Average Win Payoff $12.40 In An Average Field Size Of 8.2 Runners.
...but you have to know all the angles that tell you so much more than form does with more experienced horses.

(STILL EARLY...NEVER TOO LATE TO GET INVOLVED)
These two observations are just two of many aspects of winning handicapping. Over the next two weeks the Public Will Continue To Struggle before a few patterns become obvious and prices shorten a bit. Make your move today.

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MORE THAN 5 WEEKS REMAIN
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