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Homeracing

BC Betting Bits

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Derek Simon

October 26th, 2012


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Let’s move on to what I will call the “home team advantage.”

It is little secret that, in most professional sports, the home team has a statistical advantage. In fact, a 2007 study conducted by Oliver Entine and
Dylan Small of the Department of Statistics at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, found that, in the NBA, home teams won nearly 61 percent of the time. In the NFL, the rate was 58 percent; in the NHL, 55 percent; and in Major League Baseball, 53 percent.

Hence, the logical question: Does this home team advantage extend to thoroughbreds running over their "home track" in the Breeders’ Cup?

The answer, it seems, is “yes.”

In the past 13 years, horses that had their final prep at the track hosting the Breeders’ Cup event they were entered in have accumulated the following statistics:

Horses – 179
Winners (rate) – 19 (10.6%)*
Return (ROI) – $457.50 (+27.79%)  

Now, compare that to horses that last raced at a different track:

Horses – 1,352
Winners (rate) – 114 (8.4%)*
Return (ROI) – $2,708.5 (+0.17%)  

*There were 133 winners in 132 total races due to a dead-heat in the 2003 Turf.

These latter numbers get even worse if the shipper’s last workout was also at a different venue:

Horses – 895
Winners (rate) – 78 (8.7%)
Return (ROI) – $1,719.30 (-3.95%)  

Given that horses are creatures of habit, I don’t think I’m going out on a limb by opining that animals that recently handled conditions similar to those they will encounter at Santa Anita on Nov. 2-3 will probably (as a whole) perform better than those that did not.

Toward this end, history teaches us that, in Breeders’ Cup competition, steeds that faced large fields last time — since 1999, the average BC field has consisted of 11.8 runners — do much better than those that faced just a handful of rivals, as the following statistics show:

LAST RACE FIELD OF FIVE HORSES OR LESS

Horses – 161
Winners (rate) – 12 (7.5%)
Return (ROI) – $136.40 (-57.64%)  

LAST RACE FIELD OF 10 HORSES OR MORE

Horses – 476
Winners (rate) – 39 (8.2%)
Return (ROI) – $995.30 (+4.55%)  

Weekend Win Factor Reports

10/27/12 Woodbine Harness

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