True Track Value

LOOKING FOR TRUE RACE TRACK VALUE? WHY NOT LOOK TO THE CENTER.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 16

As winter racing settles in around the country during what seems like interminable winter months, the hard core denizens that stand on the tarmac at Aqueduct (when racing officials even deem to run) appear equal in number to the people overwhelmed in happiness at the prospects of Romney III.

Yet in the collective mind of bettors who play multiple tracks nationwide, Aqueduct is still considered a major stop. Of course for obvious reasons warm weather sites such as Gulfstream and Santa Anita dominate attention and handle at this time of the year and along with Aqueduct control the significant bulk of the racing dollar.

That being said, the question becomes...WHAT ABOUT VALUE? What is the possibility of getting the best R.O.I. for your handicapping time and dollar investment?

The suggestion here is that you can't go wrong drawing a triangulating line from Aqueduct south to Gulfstream, another west to Santa Anita and then the final line back east to Aqueduct. Once you have that triangle on you map I would suggest you head "roughly" to the center and locate OAKLAWN PARK.

Once you take a look at OAKLAWN I am sure you will see that it should easily be one of your GO TO TRACKS OF CONSIDERATION as it stands favorably in comparison with Gulfstream and Santa Anita and dwarfs (as do the other two) the returns at Aqueduct during this time period.

In defense of this position let's take a look at some AVERAGE PAYOFF NUMBERS for the 4 tracks under consideration. The numbers below for Gulfstream, Santa Anita and Aqueduct are drawn from the current meets which have been in operation for weeks or months while Oaklawn is drawn from last year's meet given that the 2015 meet just opened Thursday, January 15.

The number in parentheses at the end of each average payoff is the ranking (1-through-4) of the payoff in relation to the other tracks.

GULFSTREAM PARK
Average Win Odds - 6.33-1 (1)
Average Exacta Payoff - $141.10 (1)
Average Trifecta Payoff - $1,197.52 (1)
Average Daily Double Payoff - $112.73 (3)
Average Pick 3 Payoff - $956.25 (3)

SANTA ANITA
Average Win Odds - 6.14-1 (2)
Average Exacta Payoff - $105.61 (2)
Average Trifecta Payoff - $1,166.57 (2)
Average Daily Double Payoff - $112.73 (3)
Average Pick 3 Payoff - $1,063.89 (3)

OAKLAWN PARK
Average Win Odds - 6.04-1 (3)
Average Exacta Payoff - $94.85 (3)
Average Trifecta Payoff - $698.33 (3)
Average Daily Double Payoff - $118.20 (2)
Average Pick 3 Payoff - $973.74 (2)

AQUEDUCT
Average Win Odds - 4.93-1 (4)
Average Exacta Payoff - $70.47 (4)
Average Trifecta Payoff - $447.32 (4)
Average Daily Double Payoff - $80.28 (4)
Average Pick 3 Payoff - $547.11 (4)

As you can see by the numbers, Oaklawn falls within range comparatively with both Gulfstream and Santa Anita. But right now, at the start of the meet, as history has shown in recent years, the first 4-5 weeks of the meet (going through April) will feature even higher averages because horses are shipping in from numerous race tracks and over time the prices will get shorter than in the opening half of the meet because those same horses will run back after showing good form and will be bet more strongly against those that don't.

In conclusion to that point, this means the averages are even closer for instance to Gulfstream and Santa Anita, and in fact, Santa Anita's numbers, which are also a bit "inflated" right now because they are also in the opening weeks of their winter meet.

All of this is to reference the fact that there is no reason to perceive Oaklawn as a handmaiden to any of the other tracks during winter racing.

There is no secret to where value resides...it resides wherever the fields are the biggest and racing contention the deepest, and Oaklawn has long been known for full fields, especially early in the meet.

And as we wrap up we can tell you that because of the construction of the betting public at Oaklawn, the fact that there are significantly fewer "heavy hitters" who would decimate the straight pools, the returns on PLACE and SHOW betting are terrific. Just take a look at the average payoffs for racing at the four tracks in question from Thursday, January 16.

OAKLAWN
Average Place Payoff - $6.30
Average Show Payoff - $5.64

SANTA ANITA
Average Place Payoff - $4.90
Average Show Payoff - $4.12

GULFSTREAM
Average Place Payoff - $4.45
Average Show payoff - $5.03
(Not a misprint...average skewed by $15.00 and $23.40 payoffs)

AQUEDUCT
Average Place Payoff - $4.90
Average Show Payoff - $3.22

When it comes to Return On Investment there is nothing "minor track" about Oaklawn Park as it clearly takes its place in the CENTER OF WINTER RACING VALUE.

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