'Capping the Breeders Cup is a 'Synch'

By Gene Kershner, Equispace

So we've had 22 days of racing on the new Pro-Ride surface at the Oak Tree Meet at Santa Anita through today and what have we learned. Well for one, it takes a long time to chart the analysis of every synthetic race to see if there are any angles out there. BTW, I was happy to do it and it helped me learn a little about the synthetic as I delve into capping the two big days ahead. (We took a brief timeout to look at the Belmont P6 Tuesday night, to no avail, but a good effort and exercise nonetheless). It's a new surface, but it's going to be around for a long time to come, and although it's new there are some tendencies and biases to watch for.

So what did we find out. Well examining the races similar to how Bill Finley did in his book Betting Synthetic Surfaces, I looked at who was winning the races, wire-to-wire (leading at first call, WTW), stalkers (second or third at first call) or closers (fourth or worse at first call). WTW winners stood at 18.1% (27 of 149 races), Stalkers at 32.2% (48 of 149) and Closers, the leaders at 49.7% (74 of 149). Wow. The wire winners were much lower than Finley's survey of 1,300 conventional dirt tracks where they were around 30 percent. I also broke it down to sprint (races 7 furlongs or less) and route (mile or more) and the figures were similar to the overall percentages with a slight uptick for closers in route races (53.1% winners). In Finley's book, the percentages on 2,039 races run at all distances show the following: WTW (19%), Stalk (26%) and Closer (55%), so the Pro-Ride has held pretty similar to the other synthetic surfaces included in the survey (polytrack, tapeta, cushion track).

Favorites have been winning at a 32.2% clip, very similar to where national averages fall, with more at the sprint level (33.0%) than the route level (30.6%). The hottest post positions have been Post 5 and 6, winning at a 18.2% and 15.1% clip, respectively. The cooler positions appear to be inside, where the rail is only at 8.1% and the 2 post is at 9.4%. The center of the track appears to be producing more winners on the Pro-Ride. Good to know. The inside positions are even worse in sprints (7% at #1 and 9% at #2). Other notables, there have only been 3 winners in the three outside posts (all in the 12 hole), none coming from post 13 or 14 (in a limited amount of races).

Gene Kershner blogs at EquiSpace.


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