POST TIME ODDS RECAP: CHURCHILL DOWNS - 2009 FALL MEET
Following the close of each meet, we will review the trends exhibits by the betting public in the form of post time odds.
We will look at results of the 213 thoroughbred races from the 2009 Fall meet (November 1-28, 2009).1
72 of the 213 post time favorites went onto win their races at a strike rate of 34%. By field size, the success of Churchill Downs post time favorites varied. The sole post time favorite in a 4-horse field won, while all 3 post time favorites in 5-horse fields lost. 5 of the 12 PT favorites won in 6-horse fields. Identical success was seen in 7-horse fields. Among 8-horse fields, 9 of the 20 PT favorites won. 16 of 34 post time favs won in 9-horse fields.
The betting collective was quite successful in selecting the winner from its favorite with single-digit field sizes. At Churchill Downs, the win percentage of post time favorites in single-digit fields was 44%. The double-digit field sizes provided a tougher puzzle for the betting public. In those events, the post time favorites won at a scant 27%. 7 for 33, 12 for 36, 17 for 60, and 0 for 2 in 10-, 11-, 12-, and 14-horse fields respectively. (There were no 13-horse fields at the fall Churchill meet.) One would have expected a gradual decrease in win percentage as the field size increased and not the tipping point at 10-horse fields.
Post time favorites in allowance and stakes races won 24 of 69 races (35%). The crowd was even more impressive with claiming races where their favorites won 28 of 71 events (39%). 20 of 73 maiden races were won by their post time favorites at a strike rate of 27%. The average field size of Churchill's maiden races was in excess of 10.8 runners per race this autumn.
To try and deconvolute field size from class, we looked at the win rate of post time favorites for each of the 3 major class groups for double-digit field sizes. 7 of 30 favorites won in 'large' allowance and stakes races (23%). 14 of 42 won in 'large' claiming events (33%). 15 of 59 maidens were won by PT favorites (25%). Both variables of field size and class were in play. Maidens and large fields proved difficult for the masses.
The betting public did equal well with dirt-sprints and dirt-routes with a 32% strike rate.2 Turf routes were more formful with 38% of the post time favorites winning. Small sample sizes were seen with turf-sprints (1 of 4) and wet tracks (6 of 11).
As expected, juvenile races were harder for the public than races for older horses. Two-years produced only 29% winners from PT favorites, while older horses yielded 36%. This could be a function of young horses being performing more inconsistently.
Situationally, the betting public will be expected to be less and less successful in identifying the winner as the post time odds increase. The table below shows the winning percentages of various post time odds ranges.
1/5 - 4/5 21 10 48% 1/1 - 9/5 89 32 36% 2/1 - 9/2 342 63 18% 5/1 - 9/1 392 49 13% 10/1 - 19/1 409 18 4% 20/1 - 49/1 379 13 3% 50/1 - 999/1 211 2 1%
At first glance, the only thing that the two bombs had in common was a Y-chromosome as neither had the same jockey or trainer. Besides being male, both runners were 30-to-1 or higher on the morning line while running in 10+ horse fields. Although it is not a bad profile for a long shot, I doubt that it is reproduceable from meet to meet. In the spring-summer Churchill meet, the only male with MLO of 30-1 or greater in a large field that went on to win was MINE THAT BIRD. All of the other 50-1 plus winners in the spring were fillies under 30-1 MLO.
In the future, we will recap the wisdom of crowds by looking at the post time odds of other meets upon their conclusion.
1. While every effort has been made to insure the accuracy of the statistics provided above, the author assumes no risk on the reader's use of the information. As with all financial markets, past results do not guarantee future performance.
2. All dirt statistics will be exclusively for dry surfaces. Wet tracks will be accounted for seperately.
(2009.12.01 -- sps)