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Through the end of last week, Robby Albarado was the meet leader with 10 wins from 56 mounts, a shade less than 18 percent. But his ROI on $2 win bets was ordinary at $1.68, which is break-even after the 16 percent takeout is subtracted from the betting pool. He fared best in sprint races with nearly 22 percent wins (7 of 32); he had 12 percent wins in routes (3 of 24).
Kent Desormeaux was second with 8 wins from 43 mounts, a solid 18 percent. His ROI was slightly better at $1.73 but was still far from being profitable.
The hottest jockeys for bettors aren't always the meet leaders. Rajiv Maragh was in fifth place but owned the highest win percentage among the top 10 jockeys in the standings at just less than 24 percent (5 of 21). His ROI is $5.05.
James Graham has also been very profitable. He got off to a good start at this meet and continues to throw strong profits. He rode 6 winners from 46 mounts, a 13 percent win rate, with a $5.83 ROI.
Javier Castellano has been very effective with far fewer mounts. He had 3 wins and 2 seconds from only eight rides. That's 37 percent wins and 62 percent participation in the exacta. His ROI was $4.75.
Jamie Theriot had 3 wins and 1 second from four rides for W. Bret Calhoun. Those winners yielded a $6.70 ROI. He had four wins at the meet. Overall, his ROI was $0.93 (see Who's Not). Besides the races he rode for Calhoun, he was 1-for-38.
Ken McPeek was on top of the standings with 7 wins from 37 starters, nearly 19 percent. His runners produced a $2.54 ROI and were also useful in the exotics with six seconds and six thirds for 51 percent in the money.
There was a three-way tie for second. Hugh Robertson had the highest win percentage of that group with 4 wins from 11 starts, 36 percent, and a $5.42 ROI.
Todd Pletcher had 4 wins from 15 starts, with a $3.19 ROI.
George (Rusty) Arnold II has 4 wins from 17 attempts, 23 percent. His ROI was $4.46. His horses were consistent, with 47 percent participating in the exacta and nearly 59 percent among the top three finishers.
W. Bret Calhoun had 3 wins and 1 second from five starts. The four who finished first and second were ridden by Jamie Theriot. Calhoun's ROI was $5.36.
Calvin Borel had 3 wins from 42 attempts, a 7 percent win rate, with a $0.65 ROI. His three wins came in sprints (3 of 29); he was 0-for-13 in route races.
Jamie Theriot had won 4 of 42 races, 9 percent wins, and a $0.93 ROI. It is interesting that his four wins came in sprint races (4 of 24), which is 17 percent. He was 0 for 18 in route races. Theriot was 1 for 38 for trainers other than W. Bret Calhoun.
Jon Court earned 1 win from 21 mounts, just less than 5 percent, with a $1.14 ROI.
Leandro Goncalves had 1 win from 29 mounts, 3 percent, and a $1 ROI.
Corey Lanerie also had 1 win from 29 rides for 3 percent. His ROI was $0.30.
Miguel Mena had ridden 41 mounts, seventh-most of any jockey at the meet, but showed no wins. He did have 3 second-place finishes and 9 thirds.
Steve Asmussen had no wins from eight runners and just one second and one third.
Dallas Stewart had no runners among the first three from eight tries.
D. Wayne Lukas showed no top-three finishes from 19 starters.
Bill Mott had 1 win from 18 starters, 5 percent, and a $0.69 ROI. Five of his horses finished third.
Kent Desormeaux and Bill Mott had one win and no seconds from 12 tries as a team. Their ROI was $1.03. They had five runners finish third.
Shaun Bridgmohan and Steve Asmussen have been an effective combination at past meets, but they had no wins from seven tries as a team at this meet. They did collect one second and one third.
Wednesday, Oct. 14
All races were on Polytrack, including one originally scheduled for turf. There were six sprint races. Two were won by the first-call leader, but the other four were won by horses located in the rear-half of the pack at the first call.
One route race was won by a horse with tactical speed, but the other two were taken by closers.
Two favorites won for a $1.26 ROI on Polytrack.
Races were taken off the turf again, so all of the day's races were run on Polytrack.
Two sprints were won by horses with early speed, including one early leader, and the other two were won by horses who were in the rear-half of the pack at the first call.
There were five route races. Two were won by first-call leaders and another was won by a horse with tactical speed. Two closers also won.
One favorite won for a $0.71 ROI on Polytrack.
Friday, Oct. 16
There were six sprints on Polytrack. They were split evenly, with three winners located in the front half of the pack at the first call and three who rallied from eighth or farther back.
The two route winners on Polytrack rallied from the rear-half of their field.
The turf sprint winner rated in third early in an 11-horse field. The turf route winner was in midpack early in fourth in a field of seven.
For the first time at this meet, favorites on Polytrack showed a profit, but just barely. The three winners paid $16.80 from eight races for a $2.10 ROI.
Saturday, Oct. 17
There were eight races on Polytrack. All of them were won by horses located in the front half of their field at the first call. Both of the turf route races were won by runners who were in contention early in third place.
There was lots of kickback on Polytrack. It flew high, and it included some large clumps. Many horses don't like being hit in the face by it, so any horse who raced in midpack and ran an uncharacteristically poor race on that surface might have had a legitimate excuse.
There were five winning Polytrack favorites who returned a total of $33 for a $4.12 ROI.
Sunday, Oct. 18
There were seven races run on Polytrack. Four of the five sprints were won by horses who were among the first three at the first call. The other winner came from the rear-half of the field. There were two Polytrack routes. One was won by a horse with tactical speed, and the other was won by a closer.
Once again, there was more kickback than usual on Polytrack. And just as they did under similar conditions Oct. 17, horses in the front-half of their field at the first call had the advantage.
The winners of the two turf route races rallied from third and fourth.
There was one winning favorite on Polytrack, producing a $0.65 ROI.
Saturday, Oct. 17
Warrior's Reward was the 11-10 favorite in the Grade 3 Perryville, a seven-furlong stakes race for 3-year-olds. He had never raced on a synthetic surface before, and that might have been the key factor as he finished fifth. El Brujo, who had just won the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Sprint on Polytrack at Turfway, won the race. He earned an 89 Beyer.
Gozzip Girl was the 7-10 favorite in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies. She had settled for fourth as the 2-5 favorite in her previous outing, the Grade 1 Garden City at Belmont, but had suffered through a troubled trip while steadying and clipping heels. The soft turf might also have been a factor that day, and she settled for third in the QE II on another soft turf course. Hot Cha Cha, who was coming off a win in the Grade 3 Pucker Up, was a 4 1/2-length winner. She earned a 91 Beyer.
The most impressive performance of the day was turned in by Connie and Michael, a 2-year-old daughter of Roman Ruler who made her debut in the eighth race for Ken McPeek. She was a 7 3/4-length winner and earned a 95 Beyer.
Sunday, Oct. 18
Get Stormy came into the Grade 3 Bryan Station, a one-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds, with two straight wins, including a victory in the Lure last time at Saratoga. He extended his streak with a 1 1/2-length victory in this race. He earned a 95 Beyer.
HORSES TO WATCH
Perfect For You
Trainer: Rusty Arnold
Last race: Oct. 14, 8th
Finish: 1st by 1/2
Racing against second-level allowance runners Oct. 14, this 3-year-old filly had every right to lose, but didn't. Wide from the start, she was shuffled back when boxed in around the turn but once clear in the stretch finished with a flourish to score by a half-length. Although two of her three wins have come on Polytrack, this filly has also shown a liking for racing over the Churchill Downs main track, particularly when it is wet. She can repeat against a third-level allowance field there.
Corredor Dela Isla
Trainer: Wayne Catalano
Last race: Oct. 14, 7th
Finish: 4th by 4
He had a very wide trip for a front-runner when hung four-wide from start to finish against first-level allowance runners on Polytrack Oct. 14. Despite the troubled trip, this colt stayed in contention until the closing yards, running fourth, beaten four lengths. He is at his best on turf and could prove tough to catch on the grass at Churchill Downs.
Trainer: Eoin Harty
Last race: Oct. 18, 9th
Finish: 1st by 6 3/4
A long-striding son of Tiznow, this juvenile colt showed vast improvement in his second start, whipping a good maiden field by 6 3/4 lengths going seven furlongs Oct. 18. Connections are very high on him and are pointing toward the Hollywood Futurity, with a prep planned in between. He's the real deal. He cruised to the easiest of victories with his ears pricked and, with his size and pedigree, should relish added ground.
- Byron King