by Jeremy Plonk
November 15, 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.
The best 2-year-olds already have debuted and won by the time November rolls around.
Post-Breeders’ Cup, there’s some natural thought among those who follow the game that the 2-year-old scene has already seen its generational best. The $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies, as well as $3 million worth of 2-year-old turf races already are in the rear-view mirror. Surely, the assumption, is that the best already were unveiled to aim at those prizes. But are rookies in November and December any less potent than their summer/early fall classmates?
I dialed up the Betmix database to look at the win rates of first-time starting 2-year-olds by month of the year.
2021 April debut 2-year-olds won 14.3% with a $0.47 ROI.
2021 May debut 2-year-olds won 16.7% with a $0.75 ROI.
2021 June debut 2-year-olds won 12.4% with a $0.60 ROI.
2021 July debut 2-year-olds won 11.2% with a $0.80 ROI.
2021 August debut 2-year-olds won 11.1% with a $0.79 ROI.
2021 September debut 2-year-olds won 10.2% with a $0.79 ROI.
2021 October debut 2-year-olds won 9.3% with a $0.79 ROI.
2021 November so far debut 2-year-olds have won 8.7% with a $0.69 ROI.
Last 3 years April debut 2-year-olds won 14% with a $0.59 ROI.
Last 3 years May debut 2-year-olds won 15.1% with a $0.86 ROI.
Last 3 years June debut 2-year-olds won 12.8% with a $0.71 ROI.
Last 3 years July debut 2-year-olds won 11.2% with a $0.79 ROI.
Last 3 years August debut 2-year-olds won 10.5% with a $0.74 ROI.
Last 3 years September debut 2-year-olds won 9.8% with a $0.76 ROI.
Last 3 years October debut 2-year-olds won 9.0% with a $0.78 ROI.
Last 3 years November so far debut 2-year-olds have won 8.5% with a $0.86 ROI.
Last 3 years December debut 2-year-olds won 8.7% with a $0.87 ROI.
May is the month most likely for first-time starting 2-year-old success and the percentages drop consistently throughout the summer and fall. Whether you’re looking at the current year or the last 3-year average, the pattern remains similar. The ROI rises significantly late in the year among the 2-year-olds in the 3-year average despite the drop in win percentage.
While there are more first-time starters by nature at the beginning of the season, the win rates for those are unarguably in a pattern that shows it's more and more unlikely to debut a winner as the season goes on. This perceived handicapping axiom is validated as true by the numbers, even if the occasional star is unveiled later in the year. The 3-year-range’s November-December ROI rise may indicate the public’s perception of this trend to avoid first-time starters actually creates some overlay prices. You’re less likely to find them, but when you do, they are worth the dig.
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, analyze these juvenile debut stats by your favorite tracks to see how they hold up.