Saratoga Running Styles: by David Navarre

Saratoga Running Styles

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

by David Navarre

Through our research for Tuesday’s piece on Irad Ortiz, Jr, we discovered that Sustained/Pressers win far less of their share of races than horses with any other running style. So, this morning as I was looking at angles for Saratoga, I wondered about one of the more prominent negative angles in Race Lens….

Knowing that Sustained/Pressers perform significantly worse than those labelled simply Sustained, I wanted to check the splits to see if the combined angle made sense or if it should be two different ones. I was hoping that Sustained wasn’t actually negative in this case, which would be a big difference.

Here are the results for the combined and separated running styles when up 5 or more points in class rating

Running Style Win % Success Score ITM ROI # of Starts
Sustained OR Sustained/Presser 7% 2.1 29% -39% 23,497
Sustained/Presser 5% 0.7 21% -46% 10,859
Sustained 10% 3.4 36% -32% 12,613
All styles 9% 2.9 32% -35% 78,435

So, the split does make a difference. We know from yesterday’s article, Sustained/Pressers only win 8% of the time anyway, so it’s not a surprise that they’re terrible as a group when stepping up in class. What is a surprise is just how terrible they are. Winning 5% and only being in the money 21% of the time drives that -46% ROI. Success scores of under 1.0 are rare, making 0.7 jump out.

What is really surprising is that horse with a Sustained running style actually fare better than horses of all styles when going up in class. It still counts as a negative angle, but it is interesting that it’s not as negative as the general rating for stepping up in class.

I know, you’re thinking, “How do the other running styles fare?”

Running Style Win % Success Score ITM ROI # of Starts
Early 12% 3.8 36% -31% 17,271
Early/Presser 8% 2.3 30% -38% 26,528
Presser 13% 4.5 41% -28% 10,913

So, for each style, that step up in class costs about a third of their winning percentage but reduces the in-the-money percentage by only 7-8% in each case. This makes Pressers going up in class a far better WPS selection than you’d think. They’re in-the-money 48% overall, dropping just to 41% when stepping up in class – a 15% or so reduction. (Early drops 43-36=16%, Early/Pressers 38-30=21%, Sustained/Pressers 28-21=25%, and Sustained 44-36=18%)

There are wrinkles and blips out there. We just need to find the patterns and I think this is one step forward in that.

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