How we're playing dirt sprints at Keeneland

Profile Picture: Ed DeRosa

Ed DeRosa

September 28th, 2015

There have been 234 dirt races since Keeneland Race Course replaced its Polytrack surface ahead of last year’s fall meeting, and the most predictive measure of success on the new surface the past two meetings has been’s PRIME POWER.

The top-ranked PRIME POWER horse returned a flat bet profit of +2% on all dirt races since Keeneland replaced its Polytrack surface. It was especially powerful in non-maiden dirt sprints, striking at a 41% win rate. The best last-out Speed Rating has also been powerful in dirt sprints, posting a +10% ROI.

When a horse is ranked tops in both PRIME POWER and the last-out Speed Rating in a non-maiden dirt sprint, s/he wins 48% of the time with an average win mutual of $4.13 for a flat bet ROI of -1% (and s/he is in the money 78%).

When insisting that the top-ranked horse in question has at least a two-point gap in one of the categories, the ROI becomes positive.

So how can we use this information when handicapping and wagering on Keeneland? Well, first of all, I’m not looking to beat these types of horses. Yes, these are the types of horses who get bet, but with a 48% win percentage they’re also the type who win, and with competitive maiden and turf races at the meeting in particular, there’s just no need to take a stand against these.

I’m not saying that this type is an auto single or even a good bet—just that they’re going to be on my tickets.

 And when could they offer value? It’s an auto bet for me at 2-to-1, but more powerful wagering opportunities present themselves when a horse is ranked at top in only one of the categories. Because Keeneland is a place where certain static variables that everyone has access to—like trainers, jockeys, previous track, etc.—get (over!) bet, you can find decent prices on angles that only some have access to—like handicapping information.

When it comes to non-maiden dirt sprints, the top-ranked Prime Power and best last-out Speed Rating are both going to be “A” selections for me, and “B” tabs at worst in all other configurations.

Good luck betting this meeting now through the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Should be a great one!