What were the biggest overlay and underlay of 2022?

What were the biggest overlay and underlay of 2022?
Photo: Jason Moran / Eclipse Sportswire

This year brought some wild results not only in the race results but in the final pools. Horseplayers saw plenty of great examples of overlaid and underlaid horses during the year, and some examples were extreme.

For those who need a refresher, a horse becomes overlaid when the odds seem high relative to the horse’s actual chances to win. In underlaid horses, the opposite occurs. The odds feel low relative to the horse’s win chances.

In the Grade 1 races of 2022, were there any big examples of an overlaid horse who won and an underlaid horse who burned money

Here is one example of each.

Leave No Trace
Spinaway Stakes

Final odds: 14-1 (overlaid)

From a personal standpoint, Leave No Trace sticks out as one of the blog choices who went off at unexpectedly high odds relative to her form and won. On paper and visually, she did not look like a double-digit odds filly.

Before the Spinaway, Leave No Trace broke her maiden locally at Saratoga in a 5 1/2-furlong sprint with a 93 TimeformUS Speed Figure.

The 93 was not the highest number using those speed figures, but it put this filly as the fourth highest and in the mix with Kaling, Just Cindy, Wonder Wheel and Aunt Shirley as fillies with a TimeformUS figure higher than 90.

Plus, the way Leave No Trace won at first asking to break her maiden was impressive. After stalking the leading trio, Irad Ortiz Jr. guided the filly outside for a clear run under mild urging at best and she started to open up in the stretch run.

One closer named Stellar Lady came to pick up second and reduce the final margin to 2 3/4 lengths. But notice she had 10 3/4 lengths on the third-place filly. Spaced-out margins usually indicate a quality race. 

Leave No Trace had all the markings of filly who felt right around 9-2 to 6-1 in the Spinaway off a nice maiden win. Yet the public let her float up to an overlaid 14-1.

In the Spinaway, Jose Lezcano gave Leave No Trace a simple trip of stalking the pacesetter Naughty Gal. Leave No Trace then took over on the turn and held off both the 7-5 Wonder Wheel and 7-2 Kaling in the stretch for the win.

Preakness Stakes

Final odds: 13-1 (underlaid)

Fenwick was not the only underlaid horse in this race. Happy Jack also went off at an equally puzzling 11-1, but at least he had graded-stakes placing in his resume because of the short fields in the Santa Anita prep races.

What gave Fenwick the right to go off at 13-1 in the second leg of the Triple Crown? Fenwick competed in the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) at Keeneland in April, but he ran last by 36 lengths in the 11-horse field.

Before the Blue Grass, Fenwick broke his maiden at Tampa Bay by 5 1/4 lengths over Commandperformance. But he beat a lesser version of Commandperformance who did not resemble the promising Todd Pletcher-trained colt who closed for second in the Champagne Stakes (G1) in 2021.

In Fenwick’s three races before the Tampa Bay maiden breaker, he finished off the board three times, including last-place finishes at Aqueduct and Fair Grounds. How did he ever break his maiden at Tampa?

The public made Fenwick 13-1 in the Preakness, and it will go off as one of the strange oddities of 2022. For bettors to think he was that close in ability to runners such as Early Voting and Epicenter can only be labeled as bizarre.

Fenwick ran last and lost by 40 1/2 lengths.   

Meet Reinier Macatangay

My first time at the racetrack came as a 5-year-old kid at Santa Anita Park. For most of my younger life, that was the only track I attended other the occasional visit to Hollywood Park. 

Years later, after graduating California State University, Stanislaus with an English MA, I began writing for Lady and the Track. From late 2014-2016, my articles were seen on a weekly basis and covered handicapping, interviews with well-known racing personalities, fashion and more. 

The handicapping style I use concentrates on pace analysis. Some horses are compromised by the pace. Others are helped. Handicappers just starting out cannot easily see how pace affects the finish, so with this blog, I hope to help those unsure of how to apply pace into their handicapping and post-race analysis. 

On an unrelated note, I enjoy video games and attending anime or comic-book conventions. I am currently based in Kentucky, but spend a lot of time traveling between there and California.

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