Using Sabermetrics to Win Kentucky Downs' Jockey Bet

Profile Picture: Ed DeRosa

Ed DeRosa

September 6th, 2017

The aftermath of the premiere summer meetings at Saratoga Race Course and Del Mar Thoroughbred Club usually brings about some legitimate philosophical discussion on whether number of wins is the best metric by which to crown a meet champion.

I'm OK with it insomuch as horsemen run to win, and while other metrics might give a better indication of relative talent level, number of wins is the simplest way to express who most accomplished a common goal.

Does that mean Todd Pletcher is a better trainer than Chad Brown? Of course not. Whether he is or not is besides the point that number of wins isn't the best indicator of talent level.

Enter a wins above replacement calculation that the Business Intelligence team developed using data. What better time to unveil our attempt at this infamous baseball statistic than the Kentucky Downs #Jockey7 jockey wager, which challenges bettors to pick the most successful jockey on the last 7 races of a card. To bet the #Jockey7, select race 11 from the Kentucky Downs wagering menu and get your bets in before the horses load for the 4th race. To read more about the #Jockey7 wager, CLICK HERE. To read more about betting Kentucky Downs using Ultimate Past Performances, CLICK HERE.

Of course, WAR is useful beyond just the jockey wager, as it can help quantify the value a jockey has and thus the value a horse might offer in the wagering pools. We'll continue to roll out WAR statistics on jockeys, trainers, and sires, but for now we're doing a soft launch with a WAR statistic for jockeys at Kentucky Downs only.

So this calculation for the 13 individual jockeys listed in the jockey wager is based on results at Kentucky Downs only (since 2001). Those with a WAR of 0 have not won a race at the track this century with Jon Court's skid at 31 in a row.

This does not mean that Joe Rocco will win the jockey bet, but it does mean (to me) that you can bet his horses with the highest degree of confidence (relative to the jockey colony on this particular day) that they will be given the best chance to run their races. Reall, though--with less than a victory separating them--the top 3 (Rocco, Hernandez, and Albarado) are all in the same ballpark (pardon the pun). I would absolutely be using the one of those three I like best in the jockey bet on any exotic tickets I play.

At left is the jockey WAR standings for the individual interests, and below is the program page with the 13 jockeys by program number. There is win, place, show, exacta, and trifecta wagering. You place your bets as race 11, but you must make those bets before the horses load for race 4 (the first race that scores points toward #Jockey7 results).

The and content team will be live at Kentucky Downs for most of the meeting. Be sure to follow @TwinSpires, @Brisnet, @VPHanson, @James_Scully111, and @EJXD2 for live updates!