Here’s Why: Bet Backs Off the Bias
By Candice Hare
If you were watching the races last weekend, chances are you got a glimpse of the racing at Aqueduct where being on the rail (and preferably on the lead, as well) was the place to be.
Often when biased tracks present themselves, social media explodes with how unbettable the races are, which is understandable, but the beauty of a bias is that there are sneaky good runs from horses who finish well back of the winner.
Below are a few horses who caught my eye this weekend when seen running at Aqueduct.
March (Blame – Lifeinthefastlane, by Unbridled’s Song)
A $320,000 weanling purchase at Keeneland November 2012 and a half to G3 Bay Shore winner Eightyfiveinafifty, March has clearly been well thought of from the start.
In what was his debut (versus a pretty salty group of Maiden Special Weight runners, no less), March was one of the highlights of the weekend for me.
As you can see, here was March’s position just after the ¼ pole. He was in fourth, about three and one half lengths off the lead and, perhaps more importantly, 11.6 feet off the rail according to Trakus. While eventual winner Ship Disturber rode his way around the track in pretty much the same fashion as you see him here en route to an easy victory, March was never near the “golden rail.” In fact, Trakus reports him as being 7.5 ft off the rail at the ½, 16.7 ft off at the ¾, and 12.7 ft off at the finish. All in all, he traveled 24 more feet than the winner and yet, his finishing segment was in 6.55s, which was the quickest of the entire field.
The Truth Or Else (Yes It’s True – Lakenheath, by Colonial Affair)
Frosted has become the “it” horse since the running of the Remsen due to how he performed seemingly against the bias and while I completely agree that he’s an exciting prospect off that performance, we’re going to avoid the obvious here and go with another runner who caught my eye.
The Truth Or Else, who is out of multiple graded stakes winner Lakenheath and a half to the multiple stakes placed Fighter Wing, had twice finished third in as many attempts at graded stakes before entering the Remsen as one of the longer shots on the board at odds of 25.00.
In the Remsen, The Truth Or Else had issues from the start when he broke out a touch and made contact with Classy Class before being caught wide and settling in near the rear of the field. At the ½, The Truth Or Else was a whopping 22.2 ft off the rail (only Frosted was further wide) and at the ¾, he was 14.1 feet off the rail, which was the widest of anyone in the field at that moment. The importance of this is the timing of when it took place, as The Truth or Else had just begun to make a run at the ¾ aka when he was the furthest from the rail of any runner in the field per Trakus. He would go on to flatten out midstretch, where he was again far off the “golden rail” that the only horse to make up ground in deep stretch, Keen Ice, hugged to the finish.
When in the midst of his move at the ¾ pole, The Truth Or Else averaged the second best mph, which was equal to that of Frosted and by race’s end he’d end up with the widest trip in the field — 67 feet further than the winner. He was also never closer than 8.8 ft off the rail and if Trakus’ ft off the rail measurements are averaged, he was on average 17.7 ft off the rail.
He’d ultimately finish a well beaten sixth, but that wide move on the backstretch and into the far turn was one of the more eyecatching moments of the race and it’s one of those “winning moves” that can take a horse a long way.
Piccolo Flats (A.P. Warrior – Gold Muff, by Touch Gold)
While it’s easy to discount the winners during days when it’s clear a track is biased, horses who tower over their competition can often win in spite of running against said bias, which was the case with Piccolo Flats, who was sent off at odds of 1.55 for good reason.
Above was Piccolo Flats’ position just after the ¼ pole, where according to Trakus she was 19.1 ft off the rail and off the pace. She’d then attempt to go forward from that position in between horses before be being steadied when short of running room. She regrouped, however, and put in a four wide move into the far turn off which she took the lead and drew away to a ten and a half length victory.
After the results we saw all weekend, it’s a bit hard to believe that a horse who was running against the bias the whole way and who traveled the furthest of anyone in the field could dominate in that fashion.
A few tidbits to keep in mind with Piccolo Flats are also that she averaged the fastest mph in every Trakus segment from the ¾ pole to the finish and her time taken to run the ⅞ mile segment was 12.47s, which was just a shade under seven tenths of a second quicker than anyone else in the field and that was in spite of her running the furthest distance in that segment.
It may have taken her seven attempts to break her maiden, but this dominating allowance performance makes her one to watch going forward.
She handicaps races on her website ‘Capping with Candice and is the co-host of a weekly YouTube race preview show entitled “Down to the Wire.”
You can follow Candice on Twitter @Chare889.