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Old 03-29-2010, 01:21 PM   #1
Bill P
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Major vs. Minor tracks

Since I’m new to the handicapping arena there are many topics that are a mystery to me. One of these is classifying a race track as minor or major.

I’m guessing that this is important when comparing PP pace lines because of the quality of horses running at minor or major tracks. A true apple to apple comparison is not possible betweeen minor or major tracks.

My understanding is that average purse values is the determining factor. For example, average purse value per race at Santa Anita $50,000 (major) - average purse value Calder $20,000 (minor). Higher purses mean better horses.

Does that ring true?

Also, where can I find what the average purse value of track is?

Thanks,

Bill P
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Old 03-29-2010, 02:02 PM   #2
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Since I’m new to the handicapping arena there are many topics that are a mystery to me. One of these is classifying a race track as minor or major.

I’m guessing that this is important when comparing PP pace lines because of the quality of horses running at minor or major tracks. A true apple to apple comparison is not possible betweeen minor or major tracks.

My understanding is that average purse values is the determining factor. For example, average purse value per race at Santa Anita $50,000 (major) - average purse value Calder $20,000 (minor). Higher purses mean better horses.

Does that ring true?

Also, where can I find what the average purse value of track is?

Thanks,

Bill P
Hope this helps.

http://www.drf.com/misc/pursevalueindex.pdf

Keep in mind that tracks that have "slots" have higher purses than other tracks that otherwise may be considered equal were it not for the revenue generated by the slots.

Also, I'm sure that one could argue that PHA (val=48) is not classier than BEL (val=46) even though PHA has a slightly higher purse value.

Also, take note of HOL (51) and SA (55) versus PHA (48). Are those tracks on a par with each other as the purse values suggest?

How about Oak Tree at Santa Anita (47)? Is it on a par with PHA (48)? You would probably get a lot of arguments on that one.

Seldom do you see a horse from the west coast ship to the east coast and run in the same class of race. Generally, those west coast horses drop down in class when coming east. It has been said that west coast races have inflated class values and the fact that horses do generally drop down in class when coming to an east coast track tends to lend credibility to that line of thinking. I'm not talking about "graded race" horses, but rather, the run of the mill every day type of horses.

In any event, I think the best approach might be to use the attachment as a guide and then reason it out for yourself. After all, in the end, you have to make the call.

Good luck!
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Old 03-29-2010, 07:59 PM   #3
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Thanks for the link.

So if it isn't simply the average purse value of a track; what is it that makes a track a major or minor?

Bill
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Old 03-29-2010, 09:30 PM   #4
Charlie D
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Hi Bill


The major tracks stage nearly all the Top Graded races, like the Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes and so on.

Here is a track equilization chart http://www.americanturf.com/equaliza...fm?showchart=1 tracks with #10 in Class column are the major tracks in USA.
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Old 03-29-2010, 09:45 PM   #5
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Terrific. That's what I was looking for.

Thanks,

Bill
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Old 03-30-2010, 09:22 AM   #6
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They don't think too much of Woodbine, do they Charlie.
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Old 03-30-2010, 10:42 AM   #7
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They don't think too much of Woodbine, do they Charlie.
"They" do so at "their" own peril. It seems the best comparison, based on this chart, is that Woodbine is on a par with Rodney Dangerfield. Especially in light of the fact that on the purse value index I posted there is only one track higher than Woodbine, Del Mar.

Also, there are only four classifications, 1,4,7 and 10. Although I agree with the classifications for the "1's", and I agree with Charlie that the "10's" are the tracks where the majority of the better graded races are run, and ONLY on that basis, the comparison of the tracks classified as either "4's" or "7's" are a joke in some cases. An example would be Woodbine (4) is listed as comparable to DeD (4) and Charles Town (4), which are "bull rings", just to mention a few.

I guess that's the reason why, in over 40 years of handicapping, I never paid any attention to how these various publications classify tracks.
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Old 03-30-2010, 01:42 PM   #8
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I noticed your purse value index FTL and had to chuckle at the difference between the two charts. Of course I am biased towards Woodbine and am glad it's re-opening this weekend.
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Old 03-31-2010, 06:26 PM   #9
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I noticed your purse value index FTL and had to chuckle at the difference between the two charts. Of course I am biased towards Woodbine and am glad it's re-opening this weekend.
The two charts offer very different opinons as I pointed out using Woodbine, but there are others and it makes it real hard for someone who is just getting into the game.

Charlie D was kind enough to point out that the"major" tracks are those that host the top level graded races. Well, last I heard the "Preakness" was a pretty top level graded race, and yet, Pimlico is only rated a "7". Hhhmmm.

Now the best part is, when you look at the purse value index chart FROM the Daily Racing Form, Pimilco is "29". Look around at some of the other tracks that are higher than that and in some cases MUCH HIGHER and yet on the other chart they rank as a "4". Confusing??

So is Pimlico a "major" or "minor" track?

Here's another good one. "Fairplex", is rated a "7", equal to Pimlico. "FAIRPLEX!" A "fair track"! Another bull ring! They run for a couple of weeks a year when Santa Anita, Hollywood and DelMar are closed! This year their racing dates are September 12 to September 28!! They are part of the "California Fair Circuit"! Exactly what race do they run there that compares to the"Preakness"? And yet they rank as "7" on the track equalization chart and have a "41" on the purse value index chart.

Is this to say that "Fairplex" is on a par with Pimlico where the Preakness is run every year?

Or is this to say that like every other track in California, their stats are inflated?

These are just a couple of examples. There are many more if you go look for them.

So Bill P, if you are reading this post, here is my suggestion as before, do more than just look at either of these charts, because there is more to it than that.

Let's take Aqueduct as an example. The purse value index show it as "46",but the track equalization chart shows it as either a "10" or a "7" (for the inner track). Now the inner track is what they run on during the winter months. This also corresponds with the the time of the year when the larger stables with the better horses all go south for the winter.The reason for this? Many of those stables have horses that prefer turf racing and there is turf racing in Florida, so that is where they go. Not only that, but if those stables have aspiring 3 year olds, then Florida is the place to be. So what "class" of stock is left to race at Aqueduct in the winter? The bottom of the barrel. They are running $7,500 claiming races for "non winners of two lifetime"! Many of these horses probably couldn't beat the same class of horses at Penn National or Mountaineer. So is Aqueduct in the winter really a "7"?

So what I am telling you is to make sure you evaluate ALL THE INFORMATION about a track before YOU DECIDE if it is a "major" or "minor" track, rather than rely on a chart.
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Old 03-31-2010, 09:22 PM   #10
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So what I am telling you is to make sure you evaluate ALL THE INFORMATION about a track before YOU DECIDE if it is a "major" or "minor" track, rather than rely on a chart.


Can't knock that advice FTL
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