04/13/2015 5:12PM

Bet This, Not That: Review of Trainer Angles at Gulfstream Park Championship Meet


Before the start of the Gulfstream Park Championship Meet on Dec. 6, we used DRF Formulator to look at a handful of trainers and how they’ve fared there over the last five years. With the Championship Meet coming to a close following the running of the Florida Derby on April 4, let’s look back on how these angles fared, not just as an effort in self-evaluation, but also with an eye towards whether they could remain positive or negative angles at Gulfstream next winter.

“Bet This” Angles:

Todd Pletcher at Gulfstream in dirt routes stakes races.
Prior to meet at GP: 57-25-10-7, $3.09 ROI
Totals for GP winter meet: 17-6-1-2, $2.42 ROI
The 35% win rate really helped this angle perform, pushing the ROI into positive territory. However, the in-the-money rate is low, and the two longshots ran poorly. Remember that the ROI was boosted by Itsaknockout’s controversial win via DQ in the Fountain of Youth (paying $12.80), and that was Pletcher’s only winner in this sample that paid over $8.00. It appears that the betting public no longer lets Pletcher horses go at healthy prices in stakes at Gulfstream, and it’s tough to recommend win bets consistently at odds of 5-2 or lower. Verdict: Neutral

Chad Brown at Gulfstream in maiden claiming turf routes with horses not making their debut.
Prior to meet at GP: 33-14-5-6, $3.16 ROI
Totals for GP winter meet: 6-3-1-0, $3.93 ROI
Brown started the meet slowly with this angle, going 3-0-1-0, before rattling off three straight wins. The only real knock here is that there were too few horses that ended up matching the angle, and there’s every reason to think that this should remain a strong angle for Brown at next year’s winter meet. Verdict: Bet This

Kirk Ziadie in dirt sprints with maiden claimers.
Prior to meet at GP: 24-13-4-2, $2.92 ROI
Totals for GP winter meet: 6-3-0-0, $2.23 ROI
Ziadie started the meet 3 for 3 with this angle, but failed to hit the board the next three times out. All of these runners went off at odds of 5-1 or lower and five of the six were post-time favorites, and two of the three winners were odds on. If you can get a square price on one of these in the future, have at it, but as short-priced favorites, Ziadie will have to maintain that 50% win rate to make this angle even marginally profitable. Verdict: Neutral

Peter Walder going route to sprint.
Prior to meet at GP: 31-15-4-5, $3.99 ROI
Totals for GP winter meet: 5-2-0-0, $2.36 ROI
2 for 5 is just fine, but the problem here is two-fold: the winners didn’t pay much and the three losers were well beaten and nowhere close to even hitting the board at low odds. This angle may still win at a high percentage going forward, but considering how heavily they get bet, it may no longer be as profitable. Of note, the two winners were had 45 days or fewer since their prior start, and the three out-of-the-money ones were returning from layoffs of longer that 45 days. Verdict: Neutral

Bill Mott going dirt to turf and sprint to route in maiden special weights at Gulfstream.
Prior to meet at GP: 15-4-2-1, $4.96 ROI
Totals for GP winter meet: 3-2-0-0, $21.73 ROI
This could very well be the most lucrative angle of the meet; too bad there were only three chances to play it. All three of the runners in this sample were making their second career start, so it seems like Mott may prefer to get some of his turf routers a start sprinting on dirt first. Also of note, Mott named top jockeys Joel Rosario and John Velazquez on those two winners; the one off-the-board runner was ridden by Leandro Goncalves. Verdict: Bet This

Marty Wolfson going sprint to route in the 2nd start following a layoff.
Prior to meet at GP: 22-5-3-3, $5.00 ROI
Totals for GP winter meet: 5-1-2-0, $1.56 ROI
This angle was a complement to the Not That one regarding Wolfson in routes following a long layoff. The data seemed to hint that Wolfson runners needed their first start and improved greatly in the second one. One for five with an average ROI is not really the making of a Bet This, but the angle may still play going forward had Wolfson been a bit luckier. He did have two of these runners finish second, both beaten less than a length, and one of them was over 18-1. Verdict: Neutral

Not That Angles:

Todd Pletcher horses in for a tag (other than maidens).
Prior to meet at GP: 44-12-7-4, $1.35 ROI
Totals for GP winter meet: 7-0-0-1
Pletcher non-maidens in for a tag were a strong fade angle all meet. Only one even hit the board (G Five ran third for a $75,000 tag in January at odds of 4-1), and Palace Gate was twice out of the money as the odds-on favorite. Verdict: Not That

Chad Brown in turf routes with first-time starters.
Prior to meet at GP: 32-2-4-2, $0.83 ROI
Totals for GP winter meet: 4-1-0-0, $1.00 ROI
The knock on this angle is price. In many cases, Brown first-time starters get bet heavily, and they have to win at a very high rate in order for you to break even. Surprisingly, Brown only had four horses match this angle at the meet, but that’s because he debuted eight others at the 7 ½ furlong distance, which is considered a two-turn sprint (and he went (8-2-0-0, $1.22 ROI, with those runners). Verdict: Not That

Chad Brown at Gulfstream with horses that go off 5-1 or higher.
Prior to meet at GP: 104-6-16-14, $0.88 ROI
Totals for GP winter meet: 32-4-2-3, $2.73 ROI
This angle was a case of good news/bad news. In general, you were safe tossing Chad Brown longshots, with one notable exception: first-time starters in maiden special weights on dirt. Three of Brown’s four longshot winners came in those races, so we may have actually found a new “Bet This” for him at Gulfstream, as he went 14-4-1-3 for a $5.69 ROI with all debuting in dirt MSWs at the meet. Maybe we should change the “Not That” angle to Brown turf runners at 5-1 or higher, as he went 24-1-2-2 for a $0.71 ROI with those horses. Verdict: Neutral

Kirk Ziadie in turf routes.
Prior to meet at GP: 37-3-8-6, $0.47 ROI
Totals for GP winter meet: 4-0-1-0
Kirk Ziadie wins at about a 20% rate with all runners at Gulfstream, so it’s very nice to find an area of vulnerability for him there. These four runners were all well bet; the one that ran second lost at odd of 3-5 and the ones off the board were 4-1, 4-1, and 6-1. It’s worth noting that Ziadie also had seven runners at the meet run at the two-turn sprint distance of seven and a half furlongs. His record with those runners was 7-0-0-2. Verdict: Not That

Peter Walder in the first start following a claim when protected (i.e. not in for a tag).
Prior to meet at GP: 16-0-1-4
Totals for GP winter meet: 4-1-1-0, $10.80 ROI
The logic for this as a “Not That” angle is that Walder is so successful off the claim in general, that the 1-for-16 stat in the exacta with these runners seemed noteworthy. Nearly all of his runners take significant money in the first start following a claim, that you have to demand value, and we assumed the value wouldn’t be there. Trouble is that his one winner here—Sr. Quisqueyano in the Sunshine Millions Classic—was superb value. He paid over $42 to win, and that was Walder’s first winner in the past five years at Gulfstream off the claim that paid more than $15.00, and there were only two others in that time that paid even as much as $10.00 to win. Verdict: Neutral

Bill Mott maidens (other than dirt to turf and route to sprint in MSW).
Prior to meet at GP: 366-32-51-37, $1.00 ROI
Totals for GP winter meet: 52-7-6-2, $1.27 ROI
Though the win rate and ROI were slightly higher for these runners that the meet compared to prior years, it remains a bet to avoid. Though the win rate of 13.4% is respectable, the 28.8% in-the-money rate is disappointing; that means over 70% of these runners were off the board. In general, his maiden winners were logical, with only three of these seven paying more than $10.00 and none paying as much as $20.00. Verdict: Not That

Marty Wolfson in routes at Gulfstream after a layoff of 61 days or more.
Prior to meet at GP: 39-3-7-4, $0.89 ROI
Totals for GP winter meet: 7-1-1-1, $0.40 ROI
The one winner here was Atreides off a 64-day layoff at odds of 2-5, and the two that hit the board never threatened the winner. Rock On Baby was the horse that ran second, coming off a layoff of 364 days, but the other three horses in the sample with layoffs of longer than 100 days finished 8th, 11th, and 13th respectively. In general, it does seems that Wolfson routers do need a race following a lengthy layoff. Verdict: Not That

These are just a few examples of great bets to target as well as ones to avoid. Every day, at every track, you will find many examples of these kinds of great (or awful) opportunities. DRF Formulator gives you the keys to find these angles, and it could very well lead you to a winner that is overlooked by much of the betting public. Check out the different Formulator plans available, priced for every budget.