Giving Songbird a 90% chance to win the Las Virgenes as Prep for Kentucky Oaks

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Ed DeRosa

February 5th, 2016

There are no sure things in horse racing, but Songbird is as likely a winner as I’ve seen in a long time.

Her morning line odds of 1-to-5 to win the Las Virgenes Stakes on Saturday, February 6, at Santa Anita Park, mean she would have to win this race 83.4% of the time to break even at that price. She’s more likely to be 1-to-10, however, which requires a 90.91% strike rate.

If you give half the field a 2% chance of winning and the other half a 1% chance and Songbird the rest, then that gives the undefeated Champion Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner a 91% chance of winning. So technically 1-to-10 is value, but betting $100 to win $10 is a tough racket when you’re pushing a less than one-tenth-of-a-percent edge.

Still, the numbers are compelling.

Her Prime Power advantage of 17.1 points is other-worldly for this class. The Pizza Man has an even bigger advantage in his race on Saturday at Gulfstream, but he’s an older horse against a more established field.

There have been 13 dirt route graded stakes races at Santa Anita in which a horse outranked his/her opponents by at least 8 points on PRIME POWER, and that horse won nine times with a +4% ROI ($2.08).

Of the dirt route races for three-year-old fillies that did not include a first-time starter, top-ranked horses won 47% with a +25% ROI. And for those with at least a seven-point advantage the tally is 5-for-8 with a +14% ROI.

The only wagering advice I can give on Songbird is watch the place pool. She’ll have at least 60% of the win pool and at least 90% of the show pool, and sometimes the place pool gets lost in that shuffle. I’d be willing to bet her to place if she has less than 50% of that pool.

So where is the value at bigger prices this weekend? Here are my #BykPicks from today’s appearance on “At The Races” with Steve Byk:

My best bet of the weekend is Sylven Park in the Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint. He wanted no part in that off-the turf event off the layoff, but I’m sure he needed the race to target this, as sprinting on the turf is clearly where he is most comfortable. He’ll need to go faster, but a 10-point improvement given the layoff and 3-to-4 aging process is certainly worth a 20-to-1 gamble.

Another nice price is Grande Shores, who chased Valid and got passed by Mshwish last out. Those two are in the Donn while Grande Shores stays at a one-turn mile for the Hooper. 12-to-1 on a nice last-out Speed Rating sounds good to me.

For my Donn and Lewis picks, watch the video below!