Aqueduct & Laurel cancel, Play of the Day, War Pass …

Aqueduct and Laurel have scrapped tomorrows ( Friday ) cards due to the forecasted winter storm that is headed this way. I’m right smack in the middle of the two and they are calling for 2 inches of snow overnight into tomorrow morning with freezing rain and sleet to conclude the mess throughout the day. Those two cancelling put a halt to my thoroughbred wagering.

 No word from the Big M as to their plans, but I can’t imagine conditions will be real good at 700pm tomorrow night, with the temp. supposed to be somewhere in the low 30’s high 20’s and the wintry mix still hanging around.

The play of the day has been slow for a number of reasons. Been a little busy and haven’t been playing everyday and the days I have played I really haven’t found too many solid plays in advanced. Tomorrow we were going to make Scott Lake’s Magical Gem out play of the day in Laurel’s 8th, but not so much now. Perhaps over the weekend.

War Pass returns Sunday in an allowance at Gulfstream. This race is serving as a tune-up for the Tampa Bay Derby next month. My feeling is War Pass would have a better time of making his running style work over the Gulfstream surface than he will at Tampa Bay, but who am I? I do know the Tampa surface can at times be quirky and biases can appear overnight. In recent weeks the anti-inside post/speed bias that has popped up in the sprint races has been so strong it has been noted in several articles. I also have always thought that Tampa’s surface was more fair to all running style? Anyways, he’ll be 1-5 on Sunday and I’ll be looking to bet against him if I can make a reasonable case for anyone else, if not I’ll watch.

I watch the Meadowlands racing almost every night and have been for quite sometime. However, over the past few weeks I’ve been playing more Meadowlands harness and more harness racing in general. The winter time thoroughbred racing, aside from a few big days, is pretty plain, especially in the Northeast. I don’t care to follow the Fair Grounds and Oaklawn very seriously other than the big racing days and 3 year old preps, both male and female. I’ve almost removed all synthetic surfaces from my wagering diet, so Santa Anita is out especially with the recent wackiness. Bay Meadows is dominated by a few trainers and one jockey which makes it unappealing to me.

 That leaves only the Inner Track Big A meet, which has been kind to me this winter, so I have been watching that. The racing at Philly Park is getting better and while I try to limit ( very limited ) myself to what money I put into the pools at that track due to take out ( Pick 3 and trifecta %’s are insulting ), I have been dabbling a bit with some bias or obscure angles.

 Laurel is still the prime target on my wagering agenda, however this winter the racing has fallen to a new low. It is no secret that the Maryland circuit has been on the decline for a number of years and this Laurel meet has really been poor. Short fields of bad horses with low odds favorites throughout most cards. You can’t leave Scott Lake out of any of your bets, no matter how bad the horses form or how negative a trainer move he is making, his horses defy all logic and everyone elses are so bad, that his win. Hopefully the spring time warmer weather will help, but I doubt it. With the riches to be had at Philly Park and Penn National, why run horses in Maryland? I’m going to need a new playing field shortly …


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3 Responses to “Aqueduct & Laurel cancel, Play of the Day, War Pass …”

  1. Phil J. Says:


    I just went and looked at the field War Pass will be facing and if he goes off at 1-5, I might just bet him. I thought somebody decent would show up, guess not.

  2. Pull the Pocket Says:

    Hey Phil,

    I heard AQU was cancelled last night; but like a doofus I downloaded Laurel thinking that they were not. I should have went to google maps and realized they were in the same vicinity.

    Too bad. I wanted to watch a few horses, like the Capuano one in the first and your play of the day race.

    I have trouble with LRL. It used to be that nice 1,2,3 bias in sprints, then it would play fair, then do something else. With Scott Lake winning at that clip it is almost unbettable for me when he is in the race. Some of his horses look pretty poor sometimes, so I conventionally chuck them out. What a mistake.

    Anyway, any general tips on LRL? How do you feel the track plays? Any biases lately that you have noticed?

    Nice to see you are still keeping the POD hit rate up there. Keep it up!

  3. Phil J. Says:

    I hate that. I’ve done that before using DRF’s Formulator program but have never contacted DRF about a refund or additional cards for the day. Wonder if they might help you if you gave them a call?

    It is odd how as handicappers we do well at one venue and struggle so bad at another. The Maryland/Delaware circuit has been my favorite since my early days of playing horses. Who knows why exactly? I attribute it to a number of things, I live in the area ( within 25 mins of Delaware and 1.5 hours of Laurel ) so I can attend the races on a regular basis, I have friends that work in the industry ( blacksmith, Asst. trainer, owner ) so I have an even better feel for the horseman, and the racing surfaces usually hold their form, if that makes sense?

    As far as Laurel goes, for the most part it is one of the fairest surfaces in the country in my opinion. Speed is at an advantage at some distances like most places in the country, but at others it is a disadvantage. Here are some stats I have for the effectiveness of front runners at certain distances.:

    % of wire to wire winners:

    5.5F – 34% wire to wire winners
    6F – 31%
    7F – 16%

    Now it gets interesting. One would surmise after looking the above data that the 1 mile races would be even more difficult to wire, but that would be false

    1M – 31%
    1 1/16 – 27% Limited data, they only recently started carding this distance.
    1 1/8 – 35%

    My conclusion to the above is that the extra furlong really hurts the front runners going from 6 to 7 furlong because Laurel’s surface is generally deeper and more tiring than most. Those %’s don’t really fall in line with other track surfaces, generally I have found that those numbers will stay consistent from 5F to 7F.

    I really believe that the mile % goes back up due to the jockeys as oppose to anything else. I think that additional furlong and the “furlong” to “mile” description of the distance vastly changes the way the race is ridden. The jockeys treat the 7F races like a sprint and come out of the gate riding but add that extra furlong and change that description and they fall out of the gate and relax their mounts. This allows the pace setters to steal the opening quarter in 23.xx or 24.xx or even slower which essentially turns it into a 6 furlong sprint, which is why the similar wire to wire stats. ( 31% and 31%, I don’t think it is a coincidence )
    Some post position advantages or disadvantages? The normal post position stat chart that would be in the DRF is misleading, because they include wire to wire winners. Who cares what post you have if you make the rail by the end of the first furlong? All of the % and stats below will be with WIRE TO WIRE winners eliminated.

    At 5.5 furlongs, it is very difficult to win outside of the 7 hole unless the has speed, most winners outside the 7 hole are wire to wire winners. Post positions 6 and 7 win at 13% and 11% respectively, while the 8 post wins only 4%. The short run to the turn obviously is the answer.

    At 6 furlongs, the 8 post is a bit better, winning at 17% while the 9 hole is the breaking point, winning at only 7%. That additional .5 furlong probably gives the 8 hole a better chance.

    At 7 furlongs, the inside two post are best by a pretty good margin, I believe that is due to the tiring nature of the surface and distance, the inside horses can come out of the gate and save ground waiting to make a run. Even with the longer run up, post 9 is the breaking point again with the disadvantage being even more drastic.

    At 1 mile, the 1 and 2 post are again an advantage winning at over 20% each, while none of post 3 to 7 win at better than 13%. Not sure why? Post 3 to 7 are pretty even, all around 13% but 7 is the breaking point, post 8 and 9 win at only 5% and 3% respectively.

    At 1 1/16th and 1 1/8th, the inside 5 post are at a huge advantage. You can win from the 6 hole but it is more difficult and outside of that is very tough.

    Last winter was marked by a prolonged bias that favored the rail, not always speed on the rail either, most days rail skimming stalkers did best. It was even more prominent when the weather was bitter cold. For most of the months of Jan/Feb. that bias held and was extremely profitable if you followed the trips and watched replays. I believe it is because they don’t put any water on the track, for fear of it freezing. What water is in the track seeps towards the rail and than freezes on these days, making the rail paths firmer.This year though, that bias has only popped up a handful of times and speed seems to be doing better over all than in the past.

    One of the strongest and most reliable biases on the Laurel surface is when we get a significant rain or snow fall. The pattern usually holds pretty well and is almost predictable. It is 3 or 4 day pattern:

    Day 1, the track will be muddy/sloppy, possibly sealed and will favor speed

    Day 2, the track will be muddy but drying out and will favor off the pace horses

    Day 3, the track could be muddy, good or fast and will favor off the pace and outside horses/post. Whatever moisture is left will have seeped to the rail and the rail will be deeper

    Day 4, the track could be good or fast and still may favor outside horses or could be fair

    This time of the year, if Day 3 or 4 is very cold, freezing temps, sometimes the rail will be favored because the moisture freezes.

    This pattern actually just happened a few weeks ago. It may vary depending on how fast the place is drying out, but if the track is good after a muddy or sloppy track pay attention to how horses who show speed on the rail run.

    That is about it. After spending an hour putting this together, I’m going to make it a main page post on a slow, snowy wagering day.

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