04/17/2009 12:00AM

Inside the numbers for Keeneland jockeys

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - I usually like to wait a couple of weeks before I analyze the jockey statistics at a new race meet, and that works out fine most of the time. But is that a good idea at Keeneland's 15-day race meet? As this is written on Friday morning, nine days of the current meet have been run, with six remaining. And yes, I plan on analyzing the current statistics not only to get a better handle on the last few days of this race meet, but also with an eye towards getting off to a fast start at Churchill, where some of these same jockeys will be riding regularly, and some of the others will be flying in to ride in the bigger stakes races.

Sometimes the leading jockey at a meet has such a large following that his horses are overbet most of the time. That isn't the case here. Entering Friday's races, Julien Leparoux tops the standings with 16 wins to 10 for second-place Kent Desormeaux. Handicappers who have been on board with Leparoux are making good money with 26 percent wins, and an average win payoff that is surprisingly high at $11.85. The result is an impressive $3.11 average return on investment for every $2 bet.

John Velazquez is producing slightly better profits, but those numbers are based on just 31 mounts for him vs. 61 for Leparoux. Velazquez has ridden just a shade less than 26 percent winners, with a $12.40 average win price. His ROI is $3.20.

Some of these numbers have been influenced heavily by a small sample size of winners containing at least one huge longshot. Jamie Theriot has five wins (13 percent) with an average payoff of $33.88, and Corey Lanerie has four wins (12 percent), with an average win price of $53.62. While there is no reason to believe they will continue at that rate, they both deserve a second look when they are riding any longshot who appears to have at least an outside chance of winning.

It also pays to know which jockeys are being overbet, and which are suffering through cold streaks.

Garrett Gomez is among the leaders in terms of his win rate at 24 percent. But his horses have been overbet with an average win payoff of just $6.54, resulting in a $1.58 ROI.

Miguel Mena is winning half as often as Gomez at 12 percent, with approximately twice the average win price at $13.16. The result is the same $1.58 ROI.

Rene Douglas also falls into that ROI neighborhood with 15 percent wins and a $10.23 average win payoff. His ROI is $1.55.

Robby Albarado has had 20 of his 65 mounts finish among the first three, a bit higher than 30 percent. That is a lower in-the-money rate than most of the leading jockeys. Leparoux is at 62 percent in that category, Gomez is at 55 percent, and Desormeaux and Velazquez are at 46 percent and 45 percent, respectively. Albarado has also been unfortunate in the way those top three finishes have been distributed, with just 3 wins vs. 11 seconds, and 6 third-place finishes. His win ROI is a modest $1.04.

Edgar Prado is another jockey who shows a disproportionately low number of wins vs. second and third-place finishes. Prado has ridden 33 races. He shows 3 wins, 7 seconds, and 7 thirds. That's a low 9 percent wins, with a solid 51 percent in the money. But Prado has still managed to produce a small profit for win bettors with an ROI of $2.03, thanks to the help of at least one longshot winner which has boosted his average win payoff to $22.33.

Shaun Bridgmohan has ridden nearly 13 percent winners at this meet, but they have been overbet with an average return of $8.52 each. That works out to a $1.10 ROI. His in-the-money percentage has also been subpar at 23 percent.