How to bet Arlington International Racecourse to have a Happy Arlington Million Week

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Ed DeRosa

August 9th, 2016

The Arlington International Racecourse meeting has taken its lumps this year with a reduced horse population competing in fewer races, but what races there have been have been competitive with favorites winning only a third of the time (compared to 37% at the crosstown Hawthorne meeting and 40% at the current Saratoga meeting). The average win mutuel of $11.62 is also 24% higher than at Hawthorne.

So if you're right, you're getting paid, but what's the key to being right this meeting at Arlington? Well, in a word "speed." In more words, "E" types are the preferred running style at any distance on Polytrack and in turf sprints. In short sprints, especially, more than half the races have been wire jobs. That's not likely to be in play on International Festival of Racing day on Saturday, but the first race of Million week is a 5 1/2-furlong special on the Polytrack, and #5 Uno Pecador is the lone "E" type in the field while simultaneously sporting the best last-out Speed Rating. We'll be looking to get home off to kick off a big week.

Avg. Winning Odds: 4.81 - 1
Favorite Win%: 33%, Favorite Itm%: 66%
Exacta 75.61
Daily Double 74.48
Trifecta 478.92
Pick 3 612.27
Superfecta 2,389.34
Pick 4 4,452.42
Pick 5 11,395.93
Pick 6 Jackpot 22,446.57
Super High Five Jackpot 23,449.06
TRACK BIAS MEET(05/06 - 08/07)
Distance #
5.0fDirt 13 62% E Inside  
6.0fDirt 72 36% E Rail  
1 MileDirt 41 37% E Outside  
1 1/16mDirt 42 29% E Rail/Ins  
Turf Sprint 43 30% E Middle  
Turf Routes 103 14% P Rail/Ins  

Of course the biggest races during the big week are turf routes, which so far this meeting have favored off-the-pace types with only 14% gate-to-wire winners, but I'm reticent to put too much stock into those numbers because of the 97 turf routes so far this year at Arlington, 25 have been maiden races and only 7 have been stakes.

However, looking at the 80 non-Illinois-bred stakes races at a route on turf at Arlington since the 2002 Breeders' Cup reveals some important clues on how to handicap the Festival races because in those 80 races (which would cover 13 Millions, 13  Beverly D.'s, and 13 Secretariats among other stakes), the best last-out Speed Rating has a positive ROI as does Prime Power. Another positive ROI category is best back class, which refers to the Class Rating found in's Ultimate Past Performances and certain data files such as Allways.

More often than not, one of the leaders of these categories will be the favorite, but the multi-race bets are so lucrative on Million day, using the top-ranked horse from each category can land you on a live horse who's not the favorite. That the best last-out Speed Rating does so well also points to how important good form coming into races of this quality is while the back class helps address the European form (Brisnet produces Class Ratings for many European races).

Good luck this Million week--especially those playing Thursday and trying to build a bankroll! Follow me on Twitter @EJXD2 for on-site updates as well as @twinspires for fun contests & other updates. And if you'll be at Arlington on Saturday, then be sure to stop by the 2nd floor for a FREE handicapping seminar with Joe Kristufek, myself, and the International Racing Bureau's Alastair Donald as we discuss the day's races.