by Jeremy Plonk
September 13, 2021
Welcome to a continuing handicapping series for our Monday blog space, “Monday Myths.” Each week I’ll use the power of the Betmix database to take common handicapping assumptions and either support or dispel them with data. Betmix data powers the 1/ST BET app and its features like Angler and Birddog give data-minded horseplayers a treasure trove of information in which to query your own curiosities.
Kentucky Downs is such a unique course that you can excuse a disappointing race from there more easily than most venues.
While only 6 days in length, September’s Kentucky Downs meeting annually features huge-field turf racing over an up-and-down course unlike any other in North America. It’s one of the most horse-for-course venues you’ll find – a love/hate relationship in the ledger of many horses. The 2021 KD meet concluded Sunday and now those alumni will be heading to ports of call at Churchill, Keeneland and around the country. Do the numbers justify drawing a line through a disappointing Kentucky Downs effort and playing the rebound?
I dialed up the Betmix database to look at the next-out performances for well-backed Kentucky Downs runners whom were defeated over the unique course. I looked at the past 5 years, going back to return races starting Sept. 13, 2016. By well-backed, we categories runners as the post-time favorites, those 3-1 or less and those 5-1 or less odds.
Kentucky Downs’ beaten favorites in their next starts won 26% with a $1.08 ROI for every $1 bet.
All beaten favorites in their next starts won 21% with a $0.81 ROI for every $1 bet.
3-1 or less Kentucky Downs beaten runners in their next starts won 23% with a $1.17 ROI for every $1 bet.
3-1 or less All beaten runners in their next starts won 20% with a $0.77 ROI for every $1 bet.
5-1 or less Kentucky Downs beaten runners in their next starts won 18% with a $0.89 ROI for every $1 bet.
5-1 or less All beaten runners in their next starts won 18% with a $0.76 ROI for every $1 bet.
Kentucky Downs alumni returned to win at a higher rate and more profitable ROI than the general population when studied as well-backed favorites, 3-1 or less and 5-1 or less odds. The more heavily bet the horse was last out at Kentucky Downs, the better the next-out win percentage and the more significant difference in next-out results compared to the general population.
This one clearly is fact based on the last 5-year numbers. A horse who loses at a short price at Kentucky Downs can be excused for the effort and bet back with profitable consequences.
You can go into Betmix and run your own queries for a deeper dive into this theory and any that you can create. For instance, take a look at next-out surfaces and locales for the best success. It’s interesting that turf-to-dirt movers who were well-bet at Kentucky Downs actually out-performed their turf-to-turf contemporaries. From a locale standpoint, those KD beaten favorites who reappear next at Fair Grounds have gone 6: 3-2-0 in limited, but highly effective strikes.