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.
Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr.’s horses struggle outside of Florida.
After Skippylongstocking won Saturday’s $500,000 West Virginia Derby, it silenced a bit of the chatter that trainer Saffie Joseph Jr.’s horses simply aren’t as good away from Gulfstream Park. The high-percentage trainer has risen in profile over recent years with Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup-type performers, extending beyond a regional operation. But is the moniker true that he’s far superior at Gulfstream than the road?
I dialed up the Betmix database over the past 10 years going back to summer 2012 with Saffie Joseph’s starters. More than 3,000 starters appear in the search with just over 2,600 of them coming at Gulfstream Park (or Gulfstream Park West).
Overall Win Percentage: 21.8% (ROI $0.84)
Gulfstream Park Win Percentage: 23.0% (ROI $0.87)
Non-Gulfstream Park Win Percentage: 14.9% (ROI $0.66)
Gulfstream Park Favorites Win Percentage: 40.1%
Non-Gulfstream Park Favorites Win Percentage: 34.4%
Saffie Joseph Jr’s win percentage is 8.1% higher over the past decade at Gulfstream Park than on the road. There’s no doubt credence to his home success far outweighing his road trips. The roadies are in interesting mixed back with a fantastic 19-72 at Belmont and Aqueduct (26%), but a woeful 5-71 (7%) at Saratoga when under the national spotlight. He holds out at 16% with Tampa Bay shippers across the state of Florida, but when you remove those, his overall shippers outside Gulfstream drop to 14.5%. When you look at the ROI, it’s obvious that the Joseph runners are being overbet and underperforming on the road at a return $0.21 less than at Gulfstream. Joseph favorites win 5.7% higher at Gulfstream than on the road as well. It’s impossible to argue against his performance home and away.
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, check the race classes of the Joseph shippers and see where they may or may not be as successful when on the road.