Travers Day 2016

The “Mid-Summer Derby” as the Travers is known headlines what will likely be the best betting card of the 2016 Saratoga meet. A baker’s dozen of three year old’s will battle for the $670,000 first place money.

The Travers is book-ended by two turf stakes, one of which has the best turf horse in training and the other which marks the return of the best turf filly of her generation. In total there are six Grade 1 and one Grade 2 stakes. Let’s take a look at them in order and see if there are any potential singles and long shots for the horizontal exotics.

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How to Make $761 in Less Than 40 Minutes Using Basic Handicapping Techniques

The story you are about to read is what makes horse racing the greatest gambling game in the world. Using basic handicapping techniques that every horse player should have learned early on and applying them to the right races can yield tremendous returns.

The Saturday card at Saratoga was the usual kind of weekend card you expect at the best meet of the year. There were maiden races for two year old’s, large fields on the turf and a few graded stakes races headlined by the Jim Dandy for three year old’s.

The best performance, however took place a few races prior to the Jim Dandy as Flintshire overcame a less than ideal trip to win the Bowling Green Stakes with almost no encouragement from jockey Javier Castellano to avoid becoming another victim of the “Graveyard of Favorites.”

Flintshire was the most likely winner on the card and maybe the most likely winner of the entire meet and at 1/9 there was little chance to make very much money on the race. The Jim Dandy on the other hand was just the opposite.

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Finding Longshots at the Graveyard of Favorites

Graveyard of Champions

In my previous post I looked at what to expect at the 2016 Saratoga meet including how the track plays, which jockeys, trainers and owners can be expected to compete for the meet title and which wagering pools offer the most value. In this post we are going to look at some proven longshot angles to help you in your handicapping and wagering strategy at Saratoga in 2016.

Saratoga has long been known as the “Graveyard of Favorites.” Man ‘o War was upset in the 1919 Sanford Stakes, Secretariat was defeated in the 1973 Whitney Handicap and last year American Pharoah suffered the only loss of his Triple Crown campaign in the Travers Stakes.


These three are among the most prominent horses to suffer defeat at Saratoga but many more have lost over the years and many more will in the future. When a favorite is beaten, especially an odds on favorite like the three mentioned above, the resulting parimutuel returns can be very lucrative.

Favorites have won at a rate of 31% overall the last three years at Saratoga, slightly below the long term rate of 33% across all tracks. Longshots (10/1+) have won 13% of the races during that time. Let’s take a look at which jockeys and trainers have had the most success on longshots as well as which types of races produced the most upsets.

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Saratoga 2016: What to Expect and How to Profit From It

Saratoga Race Course

The 2016 Saratoga meet kicks off on Friday July 22nd with the first of 40 race cards. Each of the 40 cards will contain at least one stakes race and the overall quality of the supporting races will be of a higher level than any other meet of the year.

Saratoga is the premier meet in North America and is the target of many high profile jockeys, owners and trainers. Winning the meet title at Saratoga for some in each of these groups is of the highest priority and they will sometimes deviate from their normal patterns to succeed.

Knowing who will follow this pattern of deviation from the norm can be a major factor in deciding whether you have a profitable or unprofitable meet at Saratoga. Additionally understanding how each of the three courses (dirt, turf and inner turf) play, which post positions are advantageous or disadvantageous and how to navigate the wagering menu are also critical.

Let’s take a look at each of these variables and how you can incorporate them into your handicapping and wagering strategy to maximize your profits at Saratoga in 2016.

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Belmont Stakes Card 2016: Key Horses and Live Longshots

There is no Triple Crown on the line this year but there is a fantastic set of races to handicap and bet on the Belmont Stakes card.

Exaggerator and Flintshire head the star-studded cast of horses coming from all over the United States, from Canada and Europe and a few returning for the first time since a trip to Dubai.

There will be many opportunities to make a few bucks throughout the card.

Following are the horses I labeled as keys in both vertical and horizontal sequences and some live longshots that are worth a second look.

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2016 Preakness: Handicapping in the Rain

2016 Preakness at Pimlico

The sky might be clear when the field for the 141st Preakness Stakes takes the track but it is very likely they will be racing over a wet track.

Rain is forecasted to fall from early morning until late afternoon, which means the main track and turf course will be saturated.

The stakes races will surely be kept on the turf but the supporting races may be moved to the main track.

With so much uncertainty the only way to prepare is to have two plans.

Plan A will be for the likely wet scenario and Plan B will be for the very unlikely dry scenario.

As I did when putting together my guide to Canterbury Park I looked at the past three meets (plus the few days they have raced this year) at Pimlico.

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Canterbury Park: A Guide to the Lowest Takeout Meet of the Year

Canterbury Park Lower Takeout

Canterbury Park made headlines this spring when it was announced the track would be offering the lowest overall takeout of any track in North America during its 2016 meet, which runs from May 20th to September 17th.

The takeout rate structure is simple: 15% on Win, Place and Show pools and 18% on everything else.

In addition to this player friendly change the management at Canterbury Park showed a willingness to listen to the horse player community by quickly nixing a jackpot Pick 5.

These changes have boosted Canterbury Park in the annual HANA track ratings for 2016 from 29th all the up to 6th.

Canterbury Park, like Kentucky Downs, has decided to put their customers first and has provided us (horse players) with the opportunity to show the entire horse racing industry that takeout rates matter.

This could be the tipping point that determines whether takeout rates stay the same or decrease in the coming years.

It is our responsibility to support tracks that put the horse player first.

I know that you may have rarely, if ever bet Canterbury Park so I looked at the past three meets (2013 – 2015) and complied the information I think will help you (and me) succeed when betting their races this year.

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