Thursday, April 12, 2018

From Horseplayer Monthly: Is the Money Getting Smarter at Gulfstream?

This article appeared in the April 2018 edition of Horseplayer Monthly. To read the rest of the issue FOR FREE, please click here. 

Is the Money Getting Smarter at Gulfstream? 

Let’s look at some bet down numbers to see what we can uncover

It’s nothing new for us as bettors to see a horse with a 2-1 or 5-2 morning line go off at 7-5 or even below that. This is commonly called a “Bet Down.”  Often times we’re left wondering if it was a bad line, sharp money, computer players, or barn money that “knew” something. 

Although we can’t answer those particular questions, we thought we’d have a closer look at these horses at Gulfstream Park’s “Championship Meet” over the past few seasons.  Let’s see if we can learn something.

First, let’s examine at the winners bet below their morning lines by year for the last three years. This number has been fairly uniform, and there’s not much to see here.

2016 -  68.74%
2017 -  65.02%
2018 -  69.00%

Where it gets interesting is when we examine horses bet at different levels below their morning lines.

Bet Down below Morning Line:

Bet Down 25% or more from Morning Line:

 Bet Down 50% or more from Morning Line: 

While all horses bet down below their morning lines have improved marginally for those betting them – 20.4% and $0.81 ROI three seasons ago to 22.3% and $0.83 ROI this season – the numbers that really stick out are for horses bet 25% or more below their morning lines.

Here we see both win percentage and ROI increasing at high rates; from 24.82% to 27.50% and $0.84 to $0.90 respectively. 

Although the sample size is too small to be totally conclusive, and we’d have to dig deeper into the data by adding other variables, we can probably say with some certainty that the smart money has grown smarter over the last few years at Gulfstream. If you anecdotally thought that was happening, you were probably not imagining it.

As a follow up to this article, we received a question from reader Robert Alquist asking, "I have noticed that a ML of 4:1 that ends to 5:2 consistently scores at almost all tracks, not just Gulfstream. This falls in your statistics at the over 25% level but I believe the win rate and ROI fall above the rest of the category. Would you have the data, at least at Gulfstream, to confirm my beliefs?" 

We had HANA President Jeff Platt run this through JCapper for the last year, and the data is as follows:

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