Does Post Position Impact Probability to Win or ROI at Saratoga?
Data Speaks Louder than Words
We recently had a great weekend up at Saratoga. A few of our of followers debated the analysis of our first blog around Post Position (see Week 1 Blog). One of our ‘fans’ that has been watching/betting horse racing at Saratoga for over 40 years and ‘knows’ that the inside horse is always disadvantaged. Was this fan correct? We didn’t know if the Post Position bias would hold at Saratoga.
So – we crunched the numbers again….
The Data Set
- 10 years of data from Saratoga (2012-2021)
- All races have at least 8 horses leaving the starting gate and finishing
- All races on fast dirt
- Excluding races with dead heats, entries and DQs
- Clean & rich sample of 588 Races with 5,141 horses ran
(Note: Final Post Positions are utilized accounting for scratches – as was analyzed in previous blog.)
The Analysis & Results
BTSM segmented the postpositions into 4 segments for hypothesis testing (and a little extra analytics).
- PP1 is the post (our subject of the analysis)
- Inside middle (e.g. in a 10 horse race PP 2-5)
- Outside middle (e.g. in a 10 horse race PP 6-9)
- Outside (e.g. in a 10 horse race the 10 PP)
From the chart above, you can see the WinRates (WRs) are exactly the same. But, the betting money doesn’t like PP1 so the payouts are higher on PP1 and therefore the ROI is positive (same as previous blog.)
But, what was different at Saratoga? The betting money loves the outside horses – driving their odds down and decreasing the payouts of the winners. You’ll win the same % out of any PP at Saratoga – but the Value is at PP1.
Fan Busted? (YES)
PP1 passed all statistically significant tests that it does provide an edge on ROI; and counter to our previous track analyzed the outside post provides a negative bias to ROI.
The data clearly suggests post position is a valuable data point that is worth investigating for the track you play the most to determine if any such bias exists. You may see drastically different results than above when applied to other tracks across country – but as this analysis shows – post position stats are definitely worth a look for your favorite track.
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