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Monday, December 08, 2008

Big A Sunday

- One of my pet peeves is when statistics are presented without any context, and I think I was guilty of just that in the last post. There, I noted that Scott Lake wins at 31% with horses dropping at least 50% in claiming price (he's 23% over all during that period). However, I think that's like when we see a hitter's lofty batting average with the bases loaded without noting that all good hitters have a distinct advantage when the pitcher's options are thusly limited. It also seems logical that horses dropping in class should do well overall.

So I checked the stats of some other trainers over the last five years. Bruce Levine is 25 for 78 (32%, vs 25% overall). Richard Dutrow is 33 for 83 (40%) (25% overall). His brother Anthony is 23 for 71 (32%) (26% overall). Contessa is at 22%, but he's a lower percentage guy (15% overall) than the others mentioned.

So it would seem as if the stat on Lake doesn't really mean that much. Perhaps of more interest would be to consider those class droppers who had finished in the money in its previous start. What I'm really after, after all, is an idea of how the trainers do when the drop seems "suspicious," such as when the horse is dropping drastically despite have run competitively in its last. The samples are mostly quite limited. Richard Dutrow, over the last five years, is 11 for 17 when dropping a horse ITM in its last by 50% or more. Anthony is 9 for 20. Contessa is 7 for 19; Levine, just 4 for 11.

Lake, on the other hand, is 50 for 107, for 47%. Even though he's had up to four times as many starters than the other trainers, he's still more likely to drop a horse off an ITM finish, and he wins a bit less than half the time. (And he's 12 for 22 when dropping a horse 50% off of a win.)

Of course, while these long term stats may (or may not) be interesting to you, more important for our purposes is keeping track of what they do now, at this meeting; and that's what we'll try to do here over the next few months. Lake got another winner on Sunday when Big Emi ($12.00) won the 9th; that's three in three days. The trainer claimed this one last time at the Meadowlands for 12.5K, and dropped him to 10K here.

Whatsmore, Lake was quite active at the claim box for owner Mike Repole, taking three horses, including two from leading owner Winning Move and their trainer Gary Contessa. Things could certainly liven up around here in a hurry. Lake took Hollywood Left for 50K from an optional claimer - Contessa had claimed him from Paul Pompa for the same price two races back; and he nabbed Sea of Trees for 30K from the 5th, in which the horse ran poorly off a claim from Dutrow. We might see that one for 15K the next time. Lake also took the well-traveled Golden Man for 10K, dropping from 18K for Arroyo.

Haynesfield was an impressive winner of the state-bred Damon Runyon Stakes for Asmussen; second winner of the day for that barn, and three of its last four. This is a two-year old son of the rookie sire Speightstown. The stallion had a lot of buzz at the sales last year and this, as well as when his first crop first hit the ground; and he's number four on the first-year sire list. However, Haynesfield is his first North American stakes winner, and his stud fee goes down from 40 to 35K for 2009. Haynesfield is out of a stakes winning mare by Tejabo (Deputy Minister); and he descends from the distaff family of the half-brothers Touch Gold and With Approval - the second dam of those two is the third dam of Haynesfield.

And last, but certainly not least, is yet another win for Kasey K Racing Stable, as King Mobay ($17.60) takes the opener, earning the winner's share of $18,000. Yes, he likes two turns, and he certainly took to the track in his second I.T. appearance. Joaquin Memphis was a disappointing 6th in the 5th race, but he came out of the race fine, as did the King. One out of two ain't too bad in this game.


steve in nc said...

I like that you're trying to take the trainer stats a level deeper. But I'm not sure there's much ROI there to make these too valuable. Horses ITM in their last are usually overbet based on that, and with a high % trainer and a drop, well...

To me it is helpful to add different tools like, appraising the horse's appearance (Bombilla, the Lake dropper in Friday's first looked excellent), and for me, Sheet pattern analysis.

I mostly see these horses as ones to cover, but not key because there's no value. So, usually, I'd rather they just scratch (unless they look gimpy in the the PP)! Congrats on King Mobay.

alan said...

>>But I'm not sure there's much ROI there to make these too valuable. Horses ITM in their last are usually overbet based on that, and with a high % trainer and a drop, well...

Certainly true. More vauable perhaps would be identifying stables that you could take a stand against with confidence when one of those goes to the post at low odds. For example, Levine does it so infrequently, and with such mediocre results, that perhaps it would pay to be skeptical when he drops a horse down in a suspicious manner (which doesn't necessarily be the 50% drop which I was looking at).\

Anonymous said...

I know Scott Lake is still running his Mid-Atlantic barns for all meets and lives there.

Who is his Assistant running the NY operation?

Anonymous said...

Off subject, but did anyone see the mention in the Times Union Capital Confidential yesterday:

Ronald Ochrym, a Senate aide turned lobbyist, is being vetted to become Racing & Wagering Board executive director, racing industry sources say.

Does anyone know him?

alan said...

I'm not familiar with him, but found this bio on the the website of a company called Capitol Hill Management Services. Note the part about his "work in the area of crime and its relationship to gaming."

>>Mr. Ochrym brings over 20 years of experience in the New York State Legislature to CHMS. He has served as senior advisor to leaders in the State Legislature, and has extensive experience in all facets of government, including policy research and development, bill drafting, negotiation, communications and intergovernmental relations. He has been a prime developer in major statewide initiatives in the fields of transportation, education, workers’ compensation, health care, economic development, and government reform. Mr. Ochrym most recently served as Special Projects Coordinator/Director of the Senate’s Minority Information Services office. He previously was Chief of Staff for Assembly Majority Leader Michael Bragman, and also worked in the offices of Majority Leaders James R. Tallon, Jr., and Daniel B. Walsh. He has published several articles in academic journals on the social, economic and political effects of casino gaming, and has served as a reviewer for the Journal of Gaming Behavior. His work in the area of crime and its relationship to gaming continues to be cited internationally and Governor George Pataki’s 1998 Report on Casino Gaming cited two of his articles. During his tenure in the Assembly, Mr. Ochrym served as staff director of the Assembly Majority Task Force on Workers’ Compensation Reform from 1993 until 2000. The Task Force was critical in the negotiation of major reform legislation in 1993 that resulted in the immediate roll-back in workers’ compensation rates in 1994 and a second wave of reform in 1996. After completing his masters degree from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, he enrolled as a doctoral student in political science at the Rockefeller School of Public Affairs in Albany, where he studied for four years before accepting a fellowship with the New York State Assembly in 1985.