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Polytrack and Trainers for Courses - Part II

Arlington Park Communications | 09/22/2008 #

Racing fan wittycapper emailed me with a question pertinent to a discussion of trainers in general and trainers campaigning on Polytrack in particular. The question was, “How much do you use the trainer statistics that appear in the past performances?”


The short answer is, it depends.

The trainer data wittycapper was referring to was the line of several categories of trainer stats that appears under the line of workouts at the bottom each horse’s past performances in the Form.

I have been surprised at how few racing fans even know how those statistics are compiled. With only one exception, those stats are accumulated over all of last year and this year to date. Therefore, if a trainer campaigned at five or six different race meets in that time frame, all of his starts, and results, are compiled in the categories you see.

What’s the problem with that? It’s twofold. First, a trainer’s stock is going to fit better at one meet versus another. A simple example is the trainer with an average win per cent at Fairmount is likely to have a lower win per cent at Arlington simply because his stock will be overmatched here.

Second, trainers aim for certain meets. They like certain meets for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is, they know and accept that their stock fits better so they will have better results. Also, they may think, rightly or wrongly, that the racing surface is better at one meet over another. Or, they don’t like the tight turns at one track versus another. Or, they prefer one’s turf course over another. Or, they like the barn area better at one track versus another. Or, their owners live in the area around one certain track, and the trainer especially wants to do better at that meet. Or, all of the above.

The conclusion is, since trainers do better at certain meets, we need our trainer data to be compiled by meet. That is even more crucial in this day and age where, as one early poster here pointed out, Thoroughbred racing is now a three-surface sport.

There is one exception to the lack of meet-specific data in the Form past performances. Over to the right of the line of trainer stats is the record of the trainer with today’s named jockey. There are two such sets of data. The first is the trainer-jockey combination for this meet only, last year plus this year to date. The second (to the right) is the record for all of last year and this year to date, all tracks. The first, meet-specific, trainer-jockey combination stat is the only one I use.

You should know that the Arlington track program also gives a trainer/jockey combination stat that is meet-specific for this meet to date. I do use that statistic, as well.

Also, in the Arlington track program you will find a page titled Facts and Figures at Arlington. It includes the top 20 or so trainers and jockeys with their records broken out into a number of categories. That data passes the meet-specific test, since it is for the current meet to date, so I use the information in my handicapping.

Are you already thinking ahead to next year’s Arlington meet? Why not arm yourself with the aforementioned Facts and Figures at Arlington data for all trainers and all jockeys who campaigned at this meet? Send your request to me at and I will send you the information when it is ready, shortly following the conclusion of this meet.

Are you going to continue to follow horseracing after the conclusion of this meet? Then check elsewhere on this web site for the extensive Arlington OTB Tours to be conducted in three waves, if you will, starting next weekend. Track announcer John G. Dooley and TV analyst Jessica Pacheco, together, will have a tour. Joe Kristufek, Daily Herald Handicapper and Arlington odds-maker (and more), will also have a tour. Finally, I will have a tour as well, going to all of the Arlington parlors.

See you on tour!