Track Trends: Preakness Stakes aside, favorites are firing

Track Trends: Preakness Stakes aside, favorites are firing
Photo: Tim Sudduth / Eclipse Sportswire

Even with favored Epicenter having to settle for second in the Preakness, chalk was highly successful for the second consecutive week. The win rate for favorites remained above 40 percent once again, averaging 43 percent for the week ended May 22. More total races were contested, at 757 in comparison to the prior week’s 686. Field size remained similar, averaging 6.8 runners compared to 6.9 the prior week.

Pimlico offered more value than most locations during Preakness week. On the grass, favorites were victorious 38 percent of the time. This included Carotari, winner of the Jim McKay Turf Sprint Stakes, which directly preceded the second jewel of the Triple Crown. With some mild upsets occurring in both the Preakness and Black-Eyed Susan (G2), chalk won at 36 percent on the main track.

Following the Kentucky Derby aftermath, Churchill Downs remained a great place to find long shots. Chalk won 26 percent of the time on the main track, which was within the bottom 10 for overall favorite success. Turf favorites won more frequently at a 40 percent rate across 10 races run on the grass.

With attention turning to the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, the current likely favorite is Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike. At Belmont Park, favorites won on the main track at a much higher rate than has been typical of the spring meet so far, at 58 percent. Slightly more value was available over both Belmont turf courses, where favorites won 43 percent of the time over both the inner and outer.

Bettors were well tuned in to Canterbury Park, as favorites were successful 63 percent of the time over the main track and 43 percent of the time on the grass. Night racing continues this Wednesday. Secrets to Win at Canterbury Park is available as a free download to horseplayers interested in learning more about winning strategies for the meet.

Synthetic surfaces are where the most opportunities present themselves for value wagers. Across three Tapeta tracks, favorites only won 37 percent of the time. Horse Racing Nation Power Picks are available for Gulfstream Park, Golden Gate Fields and Presque Isle Downs every day of live racing.

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