Racing Fact Check: How do Trainers Do With First-Time Starters and Layoff Runners at Keeneland?

Even more Keeneland action, this time focused on trainers and how they do with first time starters and off different types of layoffs.

As usual, please feel free to reach out to me on Twitter (@john_camardo) or on here.

I would also love to plug the last two pieces located here on the site.

  1. How winners won their races – a look at how races were won in terms of horse’s position throughout the race:
  2. Looking at the Keeneland meet through data – an intro to how trainers and jockeys perform at races over the various Keeneland track configurations:

First time starters

First off, for trainers with first time starters, with 10 or more mounts since 2014, the results are as follows:

Todd Pletcher71353.8526.782.011.14
Wesley Ward258629.0730.460.950.44
Kellyn Gorder21118.189.531.911.48
W. Calhoun21118.1814.731.230.55
Mark Casse63417.6518.540.950.56
Steven Asmussen63417.6514.421.220.52
Michael Tomlinson21216.676.732.481.38
H. Motion42714.8113.381.110.58
John Hancock53514.2913.41.070.45
J. Jones21513.3313.2810.22
Kenneth McPeek65411.
Wayne Catalano21910.5313.020.810.72
Ben Colebrook32910.347.671.350.86
William Mott110106.881.450.52
Andrew McKeever2219.526.051.582.18
Albert Stall, Jr.1119.0911.620.780.58
Brian Lynch1119.
Michael Maker3456.6710.530.630.26
Ron Moquett1156.674.891.361.55
Michael Stidham1166.258.580.730.1
Philip Sims2326.
Eddie Kenneally1224.5512.660.360.06
Charles LoPresti1283.573.780.940.43
Brad Cox016016.5300
Brendan Walsh01307.1400
D. Lukas01205.2700
George Arnold, II02207.2600
Ian Wilkes04203.3300
James Chapman01007.0700
Joe Sharp016010.2600
John Dyer01002.5600
Marco Castaneda01102.7900
Neil Pessin01003.6100
Paul McEntee02103.1300
Tommy Short02603.2200
Wayne Rice02502.7600
William Helmbrecht01205.6500
  • Immediate popping out at the top of the list is the fact that Todd Pletcher wins more than 50% of the time with his first time starters and hits at a positive ROI
  • Since we all know how well Wesley Ward does, his win percentage is very high with first timers, but his ROI suggests that he is bet a little too much for me to stomach. Horizontally, at a win percentage of almost 30% you almost have to use defensively, but in the win pool there is really only chalk to be had.
  • There are plenty of trainers that have no wins with first time starters – look to the bottom of the list for potential fades.


In no way should this be taken as an indictment of certain trainers or suggesting certain horses can’t win because their trainers have poor numbers. For betting purposes however, I often find it interesting to see how certain trainers perform after resting their horses for varying amounts of time.

If you like a horse, and the price to you presents value, I wouldn’t necessarily let the stats below talk you out of making a bet. That being said, here we go.

6 months or more since last start

For layoffs of more than 6 months off the trainer stats are as follows for trainers with 10 or more mounts since 2014:

Todd Pletcher8165028.571.751.19
Chad Brown72231.8225.341.260.62
Brad Cox3122516.591.510.48
Michael Stidham312259.572.611.94
Wesley Ward8322526.080.960.44
Ben Colebrook21118.189.141.991.02
Charles LoPresti21216.677.512.223.71
H. Motion53215.6215.960.980.82
Mark Casse53215.6216.540.941.07
Michael Maker21414.2916.290.880.21
William Mott32213.6416.550.820.53
Thomas Proctor1101016.30.610.68
Conor Murphy1119.096.931.310.67
Philip Sims1128.3311.340.740.19
Steven Asmussen1128.3315.280.550.38
Michael Matz1147.147.770.920.36
Eddie Kenneally1156.6719.270.350.07
Roger Attfield1166.258.230.760.3
Claude McGaughey III1185.5615.140.370.16
Wayne Rice1691.452.120.680.13
Christophe Clement012017.1200
Kenneth McPeek01708.0700
  • It is interesting to see Todd again at the top of the list, even higher than Chad Brown from a win percentage perspective, and ROI perspective. Potential win pool plays in play here, but obviously again you almost have to play in the horizontals, unless you have a good reason not to.
  • Toward the bottom it’s super interesting to see Wayne Rice with a very high number of starters, but only 1 winner from horses coming off 6 months or more of a layoff.
  • Michael Stidham horses coming off six month rests appear to punch way above their pay-grades (impact value sky high). Could be some sneaky prices at play here

3 to 6 months since last start

For trainers who haven’t started their horse in 3 to 6 months who have 10 or more starts since 2014, the results are as follows:

Chad Brown102835.7130.81.160.49
Todd Pletcher3122530.660.820.3
Eddie Kenneally41723.5317.131.370.83
Mark Casse41723.5317.31.360.9
Michael Maker31421.4315.91.350.95
Steven Asmussen2102014.131.421.26
Ron Moquett21118.187.022.590.94
Victoria Oliver42218.188.952.030.69
Ian Wilkes31717.6510.091.752.38
George Arnold, II31915.7912.111.30.41
Ben Colebrook21414.2913.821.030.24
H. Motion32213.6414.210.961.05
Brian Lynch43013.3314.280.930.73
Christophe Clement21612.517.080.730.52
Charles LoPresti32711.1113.630.820.2
Wesley Ward43710.8120.030.540.34
Brad Cox1101017.130.580.11
Kenneth McPeek3301014.530.690.73
Brendan Walsh1137.6912.40.620.32
Michael Matz1137.699.530.810.34
William Mott1147.1418.160.390.19
Claude McGaughey III1195.2611.610.450.34
Roger Attfield12057.660.650.3
Philip Sims01507.8900
  • Chad and Todd to no one’s surprise do very well of 3 to 6 month layoffs. I feel like a broken record, but it’s worth saying again – horizontal plays are almost a must here, but win pool seems like something to avoid with these guys given their ROI’s are sub $0.50.
  • Wesely Ward shows up here, but with only 4 winners from 37 runners.

8 to 12 weeks since last start

Kiaran McLaughlin5105027.141.840.73
Eddie Kenneally61637.521.921.710.76
Todd Pletcher113036.6722.451.631.58
Chad Brown7203527.151.291.1
Nicholas Zito31323.0810.872.121.31
Michael Matz2102012.311.621.65
Michael Tomlinson2102011.091.83.41
Steven Asmussen3152018.441.080.34
Wesley Ward52817.8615.171.180.55
Claude McGaughey III31717.6512.811.380.68
Andrew McKeever21216.6711.711.421.15
Brendan Walsh21216.6718.450.90.16
Brian Lynch21315.3813.11.170.43
Mark Casse42615.3813.141.170.68
Albert Stall, Jr.21414.2914.2310.36
Thomas Amoss21513.3319.550.680.33
Brad Cox21910.5317.780.590.3
Christophe Clement1101014.40.690.27
Michael Maker3319.6814.820.650.4
George Arnold, II2229.0911.360.80.35
Joe Sharp1119.0919.490.470.75
Ben Colebrook2238.710.430.831.28
Victoria Oliver1137.696.741.140.64
Charles LoPresti1166.257.310.860.24
Ron Moquett1166.2510.160.620.21
William Mott120517.870.280.22
Ian Wilkes1234.3510.460.420.28
Dallas Stewart01008.3800
Eric Reed01007.9900
  • The sweet spot for Chad Brown horses appears here. You can actually get a positive ROI for playing chad horses coming off 8 to 12 week layoffs which to me is kind of surprising.
  • Kiaran McLaughlin tops the list at a 50% win rate, though his horses in this spot appear to get bet to pretty low odds. Interesting that the ROI is unprofitable, but the win percentage is so high that the impact value appears below one.
  • Can’t go wrong with Todd Pletcher

4 to 8 weeks off

Note that this is filtered for trainers with 20 or more starters since 2014.

Brad Cox247631.5819.661.610.84
Kiaran McLaughlin165131.3721.121.491.01
Christophe Clement72429.1719.591.490.79
Chris Hartman5202514.571.720.98
Todd Pletcher2610923.8521.531.110.78
Thomas Amoss156323.8120.061.190.56
Chad Brown166923.1920.441.130.85
Mark Casse3315121.8515.971.370.9
H. Motion188720.6915.411.340.91
Albert Stall, Jr.104920.4117.491.170.96
Philip Sims8402011.981.670.54
Michael Maker3418618.2818.031.010.48
Chris Richard42218.1820.130.90.27
Wesley Ward1910518.
George Weaver52817.8615.011.190.5
J. Jones84517.7817.8210.47
Paul McGee74117.0710.491.631.37
Joe Sharp158916.8516.381.030.62
Dallas Stewart53215.6211.561.351.53
Michael Matz53215.6212.461.250.83
Kellyn Gorder85215.3810.791.431.41
Michelle Lovell3201517.280.870.28
Arnaud Delacour42714.8118.820.790.27
Eddie Kenneally149514.7416.130.910.96
Steven Asmussen149614.5815.850.920.52
Ian Wilkes2316513.9412.31.130.9
Claude McGaughey III53613.8917.680.790.47
Chris Block42913.7910.611.30.66
Eoin Harty42913.7910.071.370.95
Michael Tomlinson53713.5110.851.250.68
Ben Colebrook118612.798.081.581.09
Charles LoPresti64712.779.961.280.83
Brendan Walsh97412.1614.130.860.6
Gregory Foley325129.61.250.65
Brian Lynch75911.8617.070.690.32
Ingrid Mason54311.6314.750.790.45
Dale Romans86911.5913.650.850.3
Thomas Proctor54411.3612.580.90.72
Andrew McKeever43611.118.21.361.66
George Arnold, II119911.1111.031.010.79
Michael Stidham87310.9611.690.940.86
Ignacio Correas, IV32810.7110.581.011.69
William Mott1110710.2819.170.540.41
Nicholas Zito7701013.030.770.35
Tim Glyshaw220109.151.090.48
William Van Meter220106.091.640.46
Neil Howard4419.769.71.010.49
Wayne Catalano6649.3812.680.740.43
Kenneth McPeek101079.3512.970.720.39
Ron Moquett4557.2710.640.680.37
D. Lukas3476.387.660.830.86
Neil Pessin2336.067.480.811.23
W. Calhoun3515.8812.550.470.23
William Bradley2365.567.170.770.46
Eric Reed1214.766.290.760.21
John Hancock1224.557.150.640.34
Victoria Oliver3674.487.580.590.23
  • Chad and Todd again appear toward the top. However, I find it interesting that their win percentages are much lower in this bucket than the buckets above that represent much longer layoffs.
  • You can find only one positive ROI play in the top 16 trainers in this layoff category, and that is on Kirian. What that says to me is that there isn’t a tremendous amount of signal in this layoff group. However, many of the impact values are greater than 1 so you may be able to dig for some prices with the top trainers in this category.

11 days to 4 weeks off

Note that this is filtered for trainers with 20 or more starters since 2014

Angel Montano, Sr.10254015.632.561.34
Wesley Ward145425.9323.431.110.68
Brad Cox135125.4920.171.260.99
Eddie Kenneally135324.5320.311.210.83
Wayne Catalano115121.5715.611.380.83
Dale Romans146820.5911.11.851.12
Michael Tomlinson4202010.861.840.97
Michelle Lovell42119.0516.361.160.74
Thomas Amoss84219.0520.840.910.49
Victoria Oliver950189.461.91.71
Michael Maker2715117.8818.640.960.75
W. Calhoun63417.6515.431.141.74
Mark Casse158617.4416.031.090.75
Kellyn Gorder84617.3913.261.311.34
Andrew McKeever4251611.61.380.78
Todd Pletcher74415.9122.510.710.28
Steven Asmussen106615.1516.830.90.45
Kenneth McPeek2315414.9414.481.030.63
Charles LoPresti64313.957.271.920.88
Neil Howard32213.649.321.460.65
Philip Sims53713.5110.411.30.94
Ingrid Mason43112.911.441.130.82
William Van Meter32412.
Ben Colebrook75712.
Chris Hartman3251214.090.850.45
John Hancock325129.21.30.49
D. Lukas108411.99.391.271.19
H. Motion65111.7614.740.80.92
Tim Glyshaw65211.5410.141.142.15
Brian Williamson32711.118.441.321.43
Joe Sharp54511.1119.860.560.19
Brendan Walsh43810.5311.520.910.55
George Arnold, II54810.429.221.131.3
William Mott54810.4215.360.680.43
Dallas Stewart3301012.10.832.02
Ron Moquett55010130.770.22
J. Jones2229.0914.450.630.18
Steve Margolis2238.79.730.890.53
Nicholas Zito3407.510.690.70.48
Ian Wilkes7947.4510.560.710.47
Neil Pessin2277.415.51.350.59
Bernard Flint2287.1410.810.660.21
Ignacio Correas, IV2316.458.150.790.22
Albert Stall, Jr.1234.3514.410.30.57
William Bradley2464.357.990.540.23
Murat Sancal12548.550.470.14
Michael Stidham1432.3313.020.180.39
Wayne Rice03502.6400
  • To continue the discussion of Todd, you’ll have to look pretty deep into the table above to find his numbers off of 11 day to 4 week layoffs. Only 7 for 44 here with an unprofitable ROI and impact value of less than 1. I’m genuinely curious why this is.
  • Wayne Rice at the bottom is 0 for 35. He along with other names toward the bottom could be good fades.
  • Brad Cox appears to almost be the opposite of Todd in terms of trainer trends (top of short layoff buckets as opposed to Todd who is at the top of trainer buckets for long layoffs). He ends up close to the top of this bucket with a nearly profitable ROI.
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