In a preparation piece for opening day at Keeneland’s Fall Meet, we decided to take a look at where, from a post position standpoint, and, relative to the pacesetter, winners won races. The goal here is to give you all a bit of help when designing races.

Post position draw

To start, a note. The numbers below are for all racing at Keeneland since 2015.

Lot of thoughts on the below. Rather than commenting in each section, I am going to leave just a few thoughts.

  • Rail looks pretty good in short, one turn dirt races with over 20% winners and 1.3 impact value.
  • For off tracks, in one turn dirt races the rail looks even better from an impact value perspective.
  • For one turn turf races run in normal conditions, the 10 post for some reason has the highest win percentage and impact value. Small sample and nothing necessarily comes to mind as to why this might be the case, but interesting and worthy of noting.
  • Rail also looks good in two turn dirt races, except for those on off tracks in shorter fields… interesting.

One turn dirt – normal conditions

One turn dirt – off

One turn turf – normal conditions

One turn turf – off

Too few races

Two turn dirt – normal conditions

Two turn dirt – off

Two turn turf – normal conditions

Two turn turf – off

Early point of call

As one might expect, getting the lead in dirt races of all distances is dangerous. Nothing too crazy going on here. I do think it’s rather striking to see the decline in leader win percentage as you increase in distance. It intuitively makes sense that this is the case, but seeing the relationship between increase in distance and decrease in leader win percentage is super clear (at least for distances with larger samples, e.g. <= 9 furlongs.)

The story is very different on the turf where we see the largest win percentage in horses that were 5 to 10 lengths off the leader at the early point of call. This also makes quite a bit of sense.

Later point of call

The story is very much the same for the later points of call in dirt races, though there does appear to be a bit more of a trend toward horses coming from slightly further back. The lead though, is still dangerous.

The chart for the turf looks very much the same as it did above. Lots of action late in the game. Particularly interesting that the highlighted cells don’t really move at all.

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