This One Handicapping Angle Beat the Meet Last Year at Fair Grounds

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Ed DeRosa

November 20th, 2014

Betting the best last-out Speed Rating to win every race at Fair Grounds last year (i.e. the 2013-2014 meeting) resulted in a flat bet profit of 2%.

Turf, dirt, sprints, maidens… no matter the race the only piece of information you needed to “beat the meet” was the best last-out Speed Rating readily found in PPs or data files.

This is a polarizing and sobering factoid for me. On one hand, the director of marketing in me loves that our figures are accurate and an important tool for finding value. But the handicapper in me feels like using the SVH (single-variable handicapping) method is like solving a crossword with the answer key.

Of course, the main objective is making money, and that’s hard to do long-term in this game, so actually cashing tickets helps allay concerns that you’re taking the easy way out.

The morning line odds of the horses on the 9-race opening night card with the best last-out Speed Rating are 6-to-1, 9-to-2, 8-to-1, 9-to-5, 9-to-2, 9-to-2, 5-to-1, 5-to-1, 3-to-1, and 10-to-1 (those last two are co-top-choices in the last race, and there are co-top-choices in the third race but both are 8-to-1).

It’s important to note co-top choices because the positive ROI includes betting multiple horses if they share the top spot.

Another “benefit” of this angle is that it’s easy to adjust for scratches.

Betting on the best last-out Speed Rating by race type at Fair Grounds
Race type: Races: Bets: ROI:
Dirt sprints 315 340   +18%
Dirt Routes 229 265  -5.5%
Turf Sprints  58  66    -6%
Turf Routes  84  91 -10.5%
Off Sprints  44  48 -28.5%
Off Routes  24  25    -8%
ALL RACES 754 835    +2%

This is a pretty illuminating table because it actually alerts us to the fact that we’re best served using this angle for dirt sprints only, and to further our zest for this angle on the opening night card, I’ll also note that in the 32 dirt sprints run in November last year, the best last-out Speed Rating had a ROI of +43%! With all the shippers, why not trust that speed is class and bet the fastest horse last out?

So for the opening day card (before scratches) that leaves us with #8 Titanium Girl in race 2, #s 1 The Louisiana Kid & 9 Ty’s Bandit in race 3, #5 One Better in race 4, #9 Ex Wives in race 5, #9 Battle On in race 6, and #5 My Shout in race 8.