We’ve discussed this before here on LoneSpeed. But it’s worth another look based on recent events.
While competing on Day 1 of this year’s NHC on February 7th, I noticed that a number of my contest selections at Gulfstream Park were getting beaten by horses that spent most or all of their time down on the rail. This observation may have been influenced by my imagination and/or disappointment, or perhaps I was on to something real. In the weeks that followed, I tried to be on the lookout for horses in the entries that ran at Gulfstream on February 7th. My goal was to find value on horses that had been wide on the day in question, and perhaps bet against horses that had taken advantage of the bias I thought I saw that day. Until this weekend, I would have reported mixed results. After this weekend, I think I was right all along and I am happy to say I made a pretty nice score as a result.
This past Sunday at Gulfstream Park, I was able to identify two horses in the entries who ran against the perceived bias on February 7th. The first was Big Tina in Race 5. As you will see in the PPs below, Big Tina was 4/1 on February 7th after running an 82 Beyer Speed Figure the race before. If I was right, and the poor Beyer earned on the 7th was a result of her running wide, then maybe she was good enough to run back to her best recent form. What also caught my eye was that in Sunday’s race, she was returning to grass even after running that solid effort on dirt two starts back. That made me wonder if perhaps the connections knew grass was her best thing.
Big Tina went to the lead and stole it at 16/1. I used her as my pick in Sunday’s NHC qualifier on HousePlayers and in the cash game on HorseTourneys. It was the first race of both contests, and I was off to a great start.
In the 9th at Gulfstream Park on Sunday, Remarkable Soul was 12/1 on the morning line breaking from the rail in one-mile allowance optional claimer. A review of the PPs shows that on February 7th, Remarkable Soul was able to record a lifetime best Beyer Speed Figure while running against what I felt was a potential track bias. She also came out of the same race as Big Tina. If I was right, Remarkable Soul would trounce her opponents on Sunday. And she did. Although I didn’t get 12/1.
If you are a Formulator user, do yourself a favor and form your own opinion here. I suggest you start by checking out the charts for each dirt race on February 7th, and then seeing how each runner did in their next start. You’ll see more than one next-out winner from that day. And a quick review of the replays will show several of them ran wide or at least off the rail on the 7th. Some of them won back at juicy odds.
Again, I might not be right about this. I am not as experienced at spotting track biases as several top handicappers I follow on Racing Twitter. But in the case of February 7th at Gulfstream Park, I think you’d be well advised to give extra credit to any horse that ran wide that day. On Sunday, I did just that. And now I have a second NHC seat as a result.
Hey, even if I’m wrong about February 7th, believing that I was right worked out for me. Maybe that’s just how this game works sometimes.