You’re In the Middle of the Ride Everything Will Be Just Fine

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Ed DeRosa

October 2nd, 2015

Jimmy Eat World probably didn’t have opening day of Keeneland 2015 fall meeting in mind when it wrote its big hit in November 2001, but it proved prescient for how the main track played on a wet day at the home of this year’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

The first race was on a track rated as muddy, the second was on soft turf, and the final eight were on a sloppy main track with the sixth race off the turf. Main track winners mostly raced out in the middle of the track on the far turn and in the stretch, though the rail did not appear to be as paid on the backstretch.

I.e. do not be fooled that a third of the main track winners were the number one horse. The first one of those was part of a coupled entry and broke from post three, and the other two—the stakes double of Runhappy in the Phoenix and Gomo in the Alcibiades—both got out in the middle of the track for a stretch run while the runners up in both those races – Barbados and Dothraki Queen, respectively—gave futile chase up the rail.

Digesting this information is more about how to apply it to Breeders’ Cup handicapping than day 2 of the meet, which will feature several other important stakes races on the main track. Dothraki Queen is the most interesting of those mentioned for that reason, as she was stuck behind horses in the 1 1/16-mile “short stretch race” before finally getting room in an unfavorable part of the track.

From a wagering standpoint, it was a mostly formful day with four favorites winning the 10 races (40%) and only two horses paying more than $20. Coincidentally, both were the #5.

In the morning, we’ll have a look at Saturday’s 10-race card featuring five graded stakes with a trio of Grade 1 events. Today’s ABC grid went XAACAABBAB, and my personal ROI on all wagers was -6%.