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.
Horses who return quickly after being claimed are live bets.
There’s a school of thought that when a horse is claimed, often the new connections already have a race in mind for that runner. The sooner they return, the better, in terms of intent. A horse claimed and then put away for an extended period is assumed to have some physical issues the new barn is working out. After all, the claiming game is about acquiring, earning and moving runners in and out of your barn.
I dialed up the Betmix database to look at all horses claimed across North America in 2021. I then set the fliters for the amount of time it took to return to the races, separating them in week increments. The study found just over 9,400 horses to peruse the data.
All horses claimed last out returned to win their next start 15.9% with a $0.75 ROI for every $1 bet.
Horses claimed last out and returned within 0-13 days win their next start 17.1% with $.80 ROI.
Horses claimed last out and returned within 14-20 days win their next start 15.0% with $.76 ROI.
Horses claimed last out and returned within 21-27 days win their next start 14.9% with $.73 ROI.
Horses claimed last out and returned within 28-34 days win their next start 16.5% with $.75 ROI.
Horses claimed last out and returned within 35-41 days win their next start 16.9% with $.77 ROI.
Horses claimed last out and returned within 42-48 days win their next start 16.7% with $.78 ROI.
Horses claimed last out and returned within 49-55 days win their next start 19.1% with $.81 ROI.
Horses claimed last out and returned within 56-62 days win their next start 16.1% with $.70 ROI.
Horses claimed last out and returned within 63-69 days win their next start 12.8% with $.56 ROI.
Horses claimed last out and returned within 70 or more days win their next start 15.5% with $.74 ROI.
The optimum timeframe for success after the claim was 49-55 days both in terms of win percentage (19.1%, more than 2 percent better than any other layoff) and ROI ($0.81 for every $1 bet, slightly better than 0-13 days). The 0-13 day timeframe was second-highest in win % and in ROI. The weakest areas were in the 2-3 week range after being claimed at around 15.0%.
Wheeling a horse back extremely quick off the claim is a positive sign, but once past that immediacy, the success actually builds to a best plan at the 7-week mark. This handicapping axiom is only somewhat true, but leans predominantly false.
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, see which trainers have success off the claim at various times between the return, or how each of these time slots may change by the tracks you handicap.