The inaugural week of racing at Presque Isle Downs is complete, thus I sat down with my trusty pad and pen to tally up the results of the first seven racing days. My findings:
Of 56 races run, there were 38 sprints and 18 routes.
In sprint races, 60.5% of winners had midpack post positions (4-7); only 1 winner started from post 1, while only 5 winning horses (13.2%) started from the inside (1-3). Outside posts (8+) were a little better, with 23.7% winners. Only 7 horses won wire-to-wire, while 50% of winners were near the lead throughout; 36.8% stalked the pace, while only 10.5% could be considered closers.
In route races, the mid-pack post position bias was not nearly as pronounced (38.9%). Four horses won from the rail (22.2%), while 8 horses (44.4%) started from the inside (1-3). 22.2% won from the outside (8+). 50% of winners stalked the pace, while only 3 horses (16.7%) led wire-to-wire, although 33.3% were at or on lead the entire race before winning. Three horses (16.7%) closed from far back to win.
Favorites won 19.6%, and finished in the money 64.3% (win, place or show). Winning horses went off 51.8% of the time at odds of less than 5-1. Longshots (10-1 or more) came in 21.4%.
Several sires had multiple winners. They include: Slew City Slew (Wazoo City and Peace Rock); Bernstein (Little B Rosson and Classic Emily); Island Whirl (Above the Wind and Steel Breeze); and Mr. Greenley (Too Radical and Terriffico).
In the very first race, favorite Cantrel was pulled up and vanned off; the next night, in race 4, Genie On the Move suffered a similar fate. However, since then, there have been no serious incidents.
[CORRECTION: I have adjusted the numbers in the following paragraphs since I did not originally factor in that two winners were first-time starters, thus I will not attribute them to a track, nor would they have had a prior turf or AW start]
I went back over six of the seven race days (I am missing the DRF sheet for Wednesday, September 5), and noted the last track at which most winners last raced—Mountaineer won hands down, with 15 of 46 winners (32.6%). Colonial (6) and Ellis Park (5) were closest, followed by Thistledown and Philadelphia Park (3 each), Saratoga (2), and one each from Prairie Meadows, Woodbine, Fort Erie, Finger Lakes, River Downs, Penn National, Aqueduct, Remington Park, Calder, Delaware, Arlington and Great Lakes Downs.
Something I suspected (and thus utilized in my handicapping) bears true here: of the 46 winners [excludes 2 first-time starters], 28 of them (60.9%) had at least one turf start; additionally, 18 (39.1%) had raced before on synthetic tracks. The same percentage (although not necessarily the same horses) had a published workout on some all-weather surface—including 8 at Presque Isle, 4 at Fair Hill, and others at tracks such as Arlington, Keeneland or Woodbine.