by Jeremy Plonk
November 8, 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 opening of Aqueduct is a letdown for bettors of the New York circuit.
The year-round racing schedule in New York shifts to Aqueduct on Thursday and will continue at the winter stomping grounds until next spring. Sure, it’s not the coliseum at Belmont nor the cathedral at Saratoga in terms of a physical plant. And while the racing product, too, is an obvious drop-off, the real question poised to those betting the horses here: Is the betting also a letdown?
I dialed up the Betmix database for the past 5 years and looked at all results at Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga to get a feel for just how similar or different the results are between the NYRA circuit locales. I wanted to see the average win odds, percentage of winning favorites and likelihood of longshots (10-1) on the racing product. The everyday racing notwithstanding, I wanted to see how stakes races also compared at these betting markers since Belmont and Saratoga are so renowned for their championship quality.
The average win odds at Aqueduct has been 4.89-1.
The average win odds at Belmont has been 5.08-1.
The average win odds at Saratoga has been 5.00-1.
Favorites win 35.6% at Aqueduct.
Favorites win 35.6% at Belmont.
Favorites win 34.2% at Saratoga.
Horses 10-1 or more have a 3.3% win rate at Aqueduct.
Horses 10-1 or more have a 3.5% win rate at Belmont.
Horses 10-1 or more have a 3.5% win rate at Saratoga.
The average win odds at Aqueduct in stakes races has been 5.22-1.
The average win odds at Belmont in stakes races has been 4.51-1.
The average win odds at Saratoga in stakes races has been 4.65-1.
Stakes favorites win 36.8% at Aqueduct
Stakes favorites win 40.6% at Belmont
Stakes favorites win 38.5% at Saratoga
Stakes horses 10-1 or more have a 4.0% win rate at Aqueduct.
Stakes horses 10-1 or more have a 3.7% win rate at Belmont.
Stakes horses 10-1 or more have a 4.1% win rate at Saratoga.
Aqueduct produces a slightly lower average win payout than Belmont or Saratoga, but only .11 and .19 lower per odds point, meaning 22 cents and 38 cents per $2 wager. The percentage of winning favorites at Belmont and Aqueduct is identical with Saratoga 1.4% less likely for favorites. When it comes to upsets, Aqueduct is slightly less likely to produce an upset winner by .2% compared to Belmont and Saratoga. In the stakes races, Aqueduct has produced slightly higher average payoffs and a corresponding lower rate of winning favorites.
The aesthetics are different, the quality of horses different, and more dirt racing than turf, but the results the past 5 years at Aqueduct mirror what we see on the NYRA circuit at its sister tracks, Belmont and Saratoga. There’s no massive shift in results at any of these three venues. From a betting standpoint, there’s no letdown at the Big A.
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, are there particular class levels at Aqueduct that are more attractive to bet than at the other NYRA venues?