Speed and the rail prevails at Fair Grounds Race Course

Profile Picture: Ed DeRosa

Ed DeRosa

November 15th, 2016

At 1,346 feet, the Fair Grounds Race Course stretch is the longest in North America, and while conventional wisdom might lead you to believe this long run to the finish should help closers, it seems to favor front runners based on last year’s meeting (November 2015-March 2016) where “E” types were the favored running style at all distances on the main track.

To be fair, the “short stretch” one-mile races are “only” 1,016 feet, but that’s still longer than the notoriously kind-to-speed Gulfstream Park, which even with its 1 1/8-mile circumference only has a stretch run of 898 feet.

The post data is pretty clear, too: the rail/inside is the place to be on dirt. So this should be an easy meet, right? Just bet inside speed?

I’m more of an “always consider inside speed” type of handicapper than I am betting it by rote, but there are two instances in particular where keeping this profile in mind is helpful:

  1. You really like the horse, anyway, and the track profile benefits him/her—especially if there was trouble last time, raced against a bias, had a wide post, etc.
  2. You don’t really like any horse and will be deep in the multis, anyway, so why not include the positive profile horse? E.g., if I’m 5 deep in a 10-horse field and for whatever reason don’t like the rail at 10-to-1, I’m going to use that horse if s/he is a speed type.

Going into the 2014-2015 meeting, we wrote about how betting the best last-out Speed Rating showed a flat bet profit for all races at the 2013-2014 meeting. That stat has not held up the past two meetings, but it still is one of the most powerful indicators of success in the Ultimate Past Performances.

In the past five seasons, betting the best last-out Speed Rating in any sprint (i.e. turf or dirt), yields a -5% ROI. Over more than 1,600 races, that’s an incredible stat. In fact, at the 2015-2016 meeting, the turf sprints were actually more formful than the dirt sprints in this regard. Again, this isn’t to suggest an automatic bet on the top-ranked horse, but it’s a confidence boost if you liked the horse already for other reasons *or* a reason to add another horse if you were deep already.

The Fair Grounds meeting begins Saturday, November 19, and runs through Louisiana Derby weekend in early April.

Avg. Winning Odds: 5.45 - 1
Favorite Win%: 36%, Favorite Itm%: 72%
Exacta 84.81
Daily Double 99.51
Trifecta 526.67
Pick 3 825.11
Superfecta 3,664.85
Pick 4 6,903.90
Pick 5 Jackpot 28,366.86
Super High Five 6,173.98
TRACK BIAS MEET(11/19 - 03/27)
Distance #
5.5fDirt 102 30% E Rail  
6.0fDirt 210 40% E Rail/Ins  
1 MileDirt 149 32% E Inside  
1m 70yDirt 68 35% E Rail/Ins  
Turf Sprint 85 20% P Inside  
Turf Routes 142 19% E/P Rail/Ins