08/07/2008 11:00PM

Here's where profits accrue at Ellis


LEXINGTON, Ky. - A few interesting jockey trends have developed at the current Ellis Park meet, including a few that might make you some money.

Most of the time horses ridden by the leading rider at any race meet tend to be overbet, especially if that jockey has dominated the standings. Victor Lebron had ridden 37 winners from 155 mounts at Ellis Park through Thursday, close to double the win total of Lyndie Wade, who was in second with 20 victories. Lebron's win rate was nearly 24 percent. But despite his success, Lebron was still generating a slight profit with a $2.03 average return on each $2 win bet on his mounts.

You have to scan down to the sixth rider in the standings to find the next flat-bet profit. John McKee had won 10 of 57 races, 17 percent. Although his win rate wasn't close to Lebron's, his winners paid an average of $12.25, vs. just $8.50 for Lebron. That works out to a $2.15 ROI.

What most handicappers and bettors don't realize is that there is a subset of those winners that has been highly profitable. A closer look at his statistics shows that eight of McKee's 10 wins came from just 30 rides on the turf. Looking only at grass races at Ellis, McKee had won with 26 percent of his mounts, with a $3.31 ROI. The flip side of that number is that McKee had won with just 2 of 27 runners on the dirt, a mild 7 percent wins, and a low $0.87 ROI.

Another profitable jockey at Ellis was listed in eighth-place in the standings. Tracy Hebert had won a moderate 10 percent of his races, but the return on investment was an impressive $3.02. That's an average payoff of $29.06. Part of his success can be explained by the fact that he is very good on front-running horses, a running style that is usually an advantage on both dirt and turf at Ellis. Hebert rode two winners on Wednesday. Sam's Grand Slam dueled from the start, briefly lost the lead to the 2-5 favorite, then rallied back to win the fifth race at $11. Mambo Miracle enjoyed a clear lead throughout and paid $5.40 in the eighth race.

It isn't difficult to locate profitable trainers at Ellis. All you have to do is look at the six trainers with the most wins. Kim Hammond was tied for first with Barbara McBride with eight wins apiece. Hammond had won with nearly 23 percent of her starters, with an average win payoff of $10.37. McBride had won with nearly 35 percent of her runners. They were more popular at the betting windows with a $7.93 average win payoff, but the ROI was still a strong $2.76.

Lori Smock was part of a four-way tie for third in the standings with seven wins. She had been successful with 18 percent of her starters, with a healthy $2.46 average return.

D. Kelly Ackerman had won with 7 of 16 runners, nearly 44 percent, with a $2.51 ROI. The concern is that he showed no second-place finishers, and just one horse who finished third. It won't be easy for Ackerman to maintain that unusually high ratio of wins to seconds and thirds. Compare those numbers with the ones belonging to Ron Moquett, who had the same number of starters and winners, but also showed four second-place finishers and one who checked in third. Moquett's ROI was $2.54.

Michael Maker had won with 7 of 13 starters, nearly 54 percent. They were chalky with a $6.92 average win payoff, but combined with the high win percentage that was enough to produce a generous $3.72 ROI.