Looking Deeper Into Top Trainers - Part II

VOLUME 12 - Number 2
Friday 7/17


Looking Deeper Into Top Trainers - Part II

Today I continue my series of SARATOGA PRIMERS that will show you that there is ALWAYS NUMBERS BEHIND THE NUMBERS and that you need to look a little deeper if you want to maximize your opportunity to win.

Hopefully these PRIMER INSTALLMENTS will show you how much work must be done to get that all so important extra edge at what is arguably America's toughest race meet of the year but also the most PROFITABLY REWARDING.

In today's installment we'll suggest that the statistics which are posted on any number of web sites, in this case the NYRA site, which accurate in what they provide don't even begin to tell you what you need to know. Just as a baseball players batting average tells you how many hits he has from how many at bats but now he produces or doesn't produce in the clutch, so do the statistics which tell you (for instance) who were the "leading trainers" at Saratoga a year ago fall far short of how those trainers produce from a wagering standpoint.

First Let's Look At The 5 Top Winning Trainers From The 2014 Saratoga

These overall numbers are taken from the NYRA Web Site.
TODD PLETCHER...131 Starters...28 Wins...25 Seconds...16 Thirds...21.4% Winners
CHAD BROWN...98 Starters...23 Wins...15 Seconds...14 Thirds...23.5% Winners
BILL MOTT...81 Starters...13 Wins...13 Seconds...10 Thirds...16.0% Winners
MICHAEL MAKER...59 Starters...12 Wins...9 Seconds...7 Thirds...20.3% Winners
GRAHAM MOTION...68 Starters...11 Wins...9 Seconds...8 Thirds...16.2% Winners

As I presented in the first part of this article, you can go forward with these numbers and bet these trainers blindly or as I showed with a comprehensive breakdown of Todd Pletcher's "success" you can learn to go BEHIND THE NUMBERS in order to better fine tune your handicapping and wagering capabilities.


The first thing worth noting is that breaking down the runners sent out by Chad Brown means applying a different set of standards. I don't mean a different overview or a different check for results by age, class level, distance etc. but a different understanding since Brown runs many more turf horses than Pletcher and not anywhere as many two-year olds. This is simply a product of the owners he trains for and the type of horses in his barn.

That being said, it is equally important to look for where he is strongest and weakest.

We gave you an idea of how much breakdown there could be with a trainer like Pletcher in that last segment and will tell you that no one is as heavily bet as Pletcher, Brown comes in a pretty close second.

Chad Brown is also a tad over bet by the public, but not close to Pletcher. Nonetheless I'll give you an idea of his strengths. Because he runs more grass horses than any other trainer let's first focus specifically on Brown's Turf runners.

*In 2014 at Saratoga Brown ran 63 turf horses and won with 18 of them. The hugely successful 28.6% win mark is well above his overall 23.5% win ratio.
*Under normal circumstances that is a very hefty trainer win percentage.
*But remember, we told you that Brown is over bet.
*His 18 winners averaged a mutuel payoff of $7.80.
*Only 5 of his winners paid double digits...only 1 of them ($21.20) paid over $11.20.
*9 of his 18 winners went off the favorite and 15 were beaten favorites.

Now, given that comment about how over bet he is, the trainer still managed a profit with grass starters. A $2 wager on every runner would have cost $126.00 and you'd have gotten back a total of $136.40. There were a handful of races where he ran two horses so that has to be taken into account regarding the improvement of the R.O.I...no matter how many you enter you can only win with one. Yet given all those numbers Brown did shine in one category...and that was with 2-year olds on grass.

*Brown started 12 juveniles in 9 races last year.
*He won with 6 of them and in two of the multi-starter races he ran 1-2.
*That means 8 were first or second.
*The average mutuel payoff of the 6 winners was $9.73 and a $2 wager on all 12 would have cost $24 for a return of $58.40...rather nice.
*And here is one final kicker. 5 of the winners were first time starters and all 5 were distance races.

Once again the point must be made. You cannot trust the generic numbers as published on Race Track Web Sites or even in the past performances. I know there are so many vital nuances that make the difference between being in the red and being in the black. And that is why I do the work.


Let me end with a few positive notes on two trainers who definitely made money for their followers last year. There were many more than these two, but I've done enough work for you. It is time you began breaking things don for yourself.

JAMES JERKENS - 28 Starters - 9 Winners
*A $2 Wager on each of his starters would have cost $56...and the total return on the 9 winners was $129.70...you more than doubled your winnings.
*He sent out $18.20, $20.80, $19.20 and $41.00 winners.
*No matter how solid he has been the last few years, the public has not gravitated to him.
*Only 4 of his starters were favorites a year ago...He won 3 of them and lost 1 of them.
*That is the definition of value.

ANTHONY DUTROW - 26 Starters - 7 Winners
*A $2 wager on each of his starters would have cost $52...and the total return on the 7 winners was $70.50...close to a 25% profit.
*Among his winners was $25.60, $15.40 payers early in the meet.
*7 of his 26 runners were sent off as the favorite with 4 winning favorites and 3 losing favorites.
While Dutrow might not have matched up with Jerkins he still finished with that one in the top 12% of value production at Saratoga in 2014.

By now you have an idea of just how much work I do. But I also want to make sure that you understand that these numbers do not by themselves dictate a play. They simply give me one of dozens over overlaid guides as I separate contenders from pretenders in each race. Make sure you return to these pages Monday morning for the next installment of SARTOGA PRIMER.


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