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Homeracing

How trainer and sire stats can combine for enticing payoffs

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

January 3rd, 2023

When betting maiden races filled with unraced horses, win percentage stats come in handy. They consistently steer bettors toward live contenders in races that might otherwise be inscrutable.

Brisnet Ultimate Past Performances provide bettors with a wealth of win percentage stats pertaining to first-time starters. How does the trainer fare with debuting runners? How about with horses debuting over the specific class level of the race you’re handicapping? Is the horse’s sire responsible for a lofty percentage of debut winners? Brisnet Ultimate Past Performances can answer all these questions.

The value of win percentage stats was reiterated on Dec. 31, 2022. The second race of the high-profile New Year’s Eve card at Gulfstream Park was a seven-furlong maiden special weight for juveniles. Eight horses faced the starter, and the three experienced runners had yet to post a Brisnet Speed rating equal to or higher than the par winning figure (82) for the conditions. In other words, the race appeared ripe for conquest by a first-time starter.

Among the unraced horses, Shesterkin, Centrist Road, and Case stood out on trainer stats. Shesterkin and Centrist Road hailed from the barn of Todd Pletcher, who is known for winning multitudes of maiden special weights during the winter at Gulfstream. The Brisnet stats listed Pletcher as a solid 19% winner overall with first-time starters, and a 20% winner with horses debuting in maiden special weights.

Meanwhile, Case campaigned for trainer Jonathan Thomas, a 19% winner with both first-time starters and horses debuting in maiden special weights. Based on trainer stats, pretty much equal cases could be made for Shesterkin, Centrist Road, and Case.

It was the sire stats that pointed to Shesterkin as the best play. Shesterkin’s sire, Violence, was responsible for 19% winners from first-time starters—a remarkably lofty number for an established stallion. In contrast, Case’s sire (Sky Mesa) saw 12% of his debuting runners visit the winner’s circle, while Centrist Road’s sire (Quality Road) counted 13% winners from first-time starters.

Despite the strong win percentage stats in Shesterkin’s corner, he started as the 17-5 third choice behind the experienced runner Kentucky Joker (12-5) and Case (12-5). Centrist Road was a longshot at 10-1.

Given the surprising tote board, betting Shesterkin to win and keying him over Case and Centrist Road in the exacta was a logical strategy for fans of Brisnet win percentage stats. And when Shesterkin led all the way to beat Case by 2 1/4 lengths, every $2 win bet paid $8.80 and the $2 exacta returned $36.80.

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