Three Notes For Turfway Park Opening Night And Beyond

Profile Picture: Ed DeRosa

Ed DeRosa

November 28th, 2016

Turfway Park is one of my favorite meetings: 1) it's one of only 2 Polytrack venues left (among five synthetic options), and 2) it's wagering menu is consistent with a $0.50 Pick 5 on the first five races, $0.50 Pick 4s on races 2-5 and the last four races, and rolling $0.50 Pick 3s and $1 doubles. The Pick 5 also has a carryover provision, and there are no jackpot wagers throughout the card.

It's been 8 months since horses last raced at Turfway Park, but they return at 6:15 p.m. ET on Wednesday, November 30, for a 9-race card that begins the long slog through a Kentucky winter with the Keeneland Spring meeting and Kentucky Derby season on the other side.

And let's hope that the opening 9-race card is a harbinger of things to come this meeting because nearly every race features full, competitive fields. We'll take a closer look at the opening day card after scratches (there are many AEs and several of them would figure prominently), but for now here are some general thoughts on how I'm approaching handicapping the meeting.

1. Despite conventional wisdom to the contrary regarding synthetics "playing like turf", speed does well at Turfway, with "E" or "E/P" pace types (per Ultimate Past Performances) winning about two-thirds of all races last year--sprint or route.

2. Post wise, far outside posts (8+) are more a handicap than the rail, but posts 2-7 are definitely "cozy" as Churchill Downs handicapper Joe Kristufek likes to say about posts sometimes. 

3. I'm more likely to rely on current form going two turns than I am in the sprint races. I.e., back class is more dangerous sprinting at Turfway.

Below are stats and average payouts from last year's meet (December 3, 2015-April 3, 2016). For opening night handicapping info, CLICK HERE.

Avg. Winning Odds: 5.48 - 1
Favorite Win%: 38%, Favorite Itm%: 67%
Exacta 91.92
Daily Double 95.22
Trifecta 722.94
Pick 3 950.31
Superfecta 5,810.66
Pick 4 6,187.09
Pick 5 9,034.36
Super High Five 5,763.11