This week in horse racing: curtain rises on southern tracks

By Jeremy Plonk  (Xpressbet Editor-in-chief) 

November 16, 2022 03:58 PM

Fair Grounds opens its racing season Friday, while Tampa Bay Downs will follow suit the following week.

Those may not sound like the first signs of winter to many, but they are for horseplayers. And a reduction in takeout at Fair Grounds for the 80-day meeting in New Orleans will be music to bettors’ ears. The pick 5 takeout has been reduced to 15%. A new $1 pick six wager (also a 15% takeout) has been added to the lineup and will be a traditional pick six with no jackpot provision.

The bad news for Fair Grounds fans will be fewer turf races to start the meeting. Track officials say the local grass course has not progressed as hoped and will need more time to take shape. Look for increased turf races as the meeting progresses with cautious optimism, given the unplayable turf course condition at sister track Churchill Downs throughout much of 2022.

For those playing Fair Grounds, here are a couple of off-the-radar trainers to follow. They’ve sprung from the box ready to go in November-December over the past three meetings:

– Matt Shirer (10-34, 29%, $2.72 ROI for every $1 bet) 

– Hugh Robertson (8-29, 28%, $2.63 ROI for every $1 bet)

What To Watch For This Week

Woodbine offers a pair of $100,000 stakes races on its Friday program … The Grade 3 $300,000 Chilukki Stakes for filly and mare sprinters at Churchill Downs on Saturday will be North America’s richest thoroughbred race of the weekend … Lone Star Park in Texas has a huge American Quarter Horse card on Saturday with the $1 million Texas Classic Futurity leading a five-stakes barrage … Del Mar puts 2-year-olds on center stage in Saturday’s Desi Arnaz for fillies and Sunday’s Grade 3 Bob Hope … Wrapping into early next week, Monday’s $250,000 Steel Valley Sprint is the marquee race annually at Ohio’s Mahoning Valley, while Tuesday’s Zia Park card features five stakes and more than $1 million in purses throughout the day.

Friday Weekend Firestarter

Del Mar’s freshly minted meet began last week and trainer Phil D’Amato got off to a flying start. His runners won 5 races and finished second five times from 14 starters. He’ll have just one entered Friday in a Race 5 maiden turf sprint. #4 Christina’s Candy was well backed in a disappointing debut at Gulfstream Park, but switches barns to D’Amato and moves to turf, which plays well to her pedigree. Expect improvement.

1/ST BET App Top Handicapping Tracks of Week

The free 1/ST BET app allows you to apply millions of data points across dozens of handicapping factors in mere seconds and immediately place your wagers. Here’s where the artificial intelligence was most dialed-in last week by win percentage:

47% Delta Downs 

44% Hawthorne 

44% Charles Town 

40% Zia Park 

33% Penn National

Tracks With Most Reliable Favorites Last Week (By Win %) 

55% Zia Park 

53% Indianapolis 

52% Mountaineer  

47% Charles Town 

46% Remington Park

Tracks That Were Longshot Havens Last Week (Most Winners 10-1 or More) 

5 Woodbine 

4 Aqueduct 

4 Del Mar 

4 Delta Downs 

4 Finger Lakes 

4 Gulfstream Park

America’s Hot Jockeys Last Week 

Alfredo Juarez Jr. (7-19, 37%) // Zia Park 

Juan Hernandez (7-20, 35%) // Del Mar 

Mauro Cedillo (9-28, 32%) // Mountaineer, Mahoning Valley 

Carlos Lopez (9-31, 29%) // Laurel, Charles Town 

Christian Torres (7-24, 29%) // Remington Park

America’s Hot Trainers Last Week 

Ronney Brown (6-6, 100%) // Charles Town 

Doug O’Neill (6-13, 46%) // Del Mar 

Robertino Diodoro (8-22, 36%) // Churchill, Delta, Del Mar, Remington, Turf Paradise 

Genaro Garcia (6-19, 32%) // Churchill, Indianapolis 

Claudio Gonzalez (6-18, 33%) // Gulfstream, Laurel

November Sweepstakes Rolls On

Throughout November, every bet at 1/ST BET and Xpressbet enters players into random drawings at month’s end worth $20,000. Top prize is a $1,000 wagering credit.

– Statistics courtesy Betmix 


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