Welcome to a continuing handicapping series for our Monday blog space, “Monday Myths.” Each week I’ll use the power of the Betmix database to take common handicapping assumptions and either support or dispel them with data. Betmix data powers the 1/ST BET app and its features like Angler and Birddog give data-minded horseplayers a treasure trove of information in which to query your own curiosities.
One-turn miles are more about speed than stamina.
Saturday’s Cigar Mile at Aqueduct is one of the calendar’s premier races at the 1-turn mile trip on dirt. It joins races like the Met Mile at sister track Belmont on the seasonal slate of must-see races. Many handicappers believe these races play more like sprints than routes, given the 1-turn nature. We’ll put the data to the test.
The principal dirt tracks in the US that offer 1-turn mile races are Aqueduct, Belmont, Churchill, Gulfstream and Laurel Park. I’ve dialed up the Betmix database to look at all dirt mile races at those venues of the past calendar year, going back to Nov. 29, 2020, creating a list of 805 races.
Horses who last raced at a distance shorter than 1 mile won 13.2% with a $0.82 ROI in 1-turn dirt miles.
Horses who last raced at a distance equal to 1 mile won 14.5% with a $0.76 ROI in 1-turn dirt miles.
Horses who last raced at a distance longer than 1 mile won 12.5% with a $0.65 ROI in 1-turn dirt miles.
Horses who last raced at a distance shorter than 1 mile accounted for 36% of victories in 1-turn dirt miles.
Horses who last raced at a distance equal to 1 mile accounted for 42% of victories in 1-turn dirt miles.
Horses who last raced at a distance longer than 1 mile accounted for 21% of victories in 1-turn dirt miles.
Horses who last raced at a mile won the most 1-turn mile races and also had the highest win percentage among individual starters. Those who ran shorter than a mile last out were second-best in both surveys. Those who raced farther than 1 mile last time had the lowest win rate, ROI and percentage of victories.
No doubt the numbers suggest it’s better to add distance than cut back when it comes to 1-turn dirt miles, but it’s even better to be a mile specialist and coming back at the same trip. The viewpoint that 1-turn miles are more about speed than stamina is validated by the numbers.
You can go into Betmix and run your own queries for a deeper dive into this theory and any that you can create. For instance, evaluate each of these distance situations at each of the venues that offer 1-turn miles and see how it applies locally.