Playing Del Mar and Saratoga
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder

Originally published on July 18, 2012

Updated for 2016

On our long editorial to do list is a post about “meet handicapping” or focusing your play on a specific track. A meet, as it’s called, is a specific season at a specific track. Some tracks have more than one meet, for example Belmont Park has a Spring and a Fall meet.

Whether you live near a track or like to play a specific meet, such as the upcoming Del Mar and Saratoga meets, focusing your play at a single track has many advantages. In the beginning of the meet you’ll be able to note what circuits and tracks the winners are coming from, you’ll be able to stay attuned to micro-hot streaks of trainers and jockeys and you’ll have an overall better sense of what kinds of running styles are producing good efforts, more so than the player who drops in for a weekend or two.

Until we get around to expanding on those ideas a bit, here are a few thoughtful posts to help you gear up for Del Mar and Saratoga.

Horseplayer Monthly: Saratoga Edition (pdf) – New in 2016
Brought to you by HANA, the July edition is full of Saratoga stats and useful handicapping and wager posts geared towards playing Saratoga.

Saratoga 2016: What to Expect and How to Profit from ItNew in 2016
An good high-level overview.

Finding Longshots at the Graveyard of FavoritesNew in 2016
A detailed look at jockeys, trainers, surfaces and distance with regard to what produces longshot winners.

Del Mar Jockey PreviewNew in 2016
Not familiar with Del Mar’s jockey colony? D.S. Williamson at Bet America highlights some of the persistently good Del Mar jockeys.

How to Beat Del MarNew in 2016
Handicapper Scott Shapiro lays out some angles to watch and wagers to consider.

11 Tips for a Profitable Meet at Saratoga
A few years old, but still a handy guidelines to keep in mind as you play the Spa.

Bet This, Not That – Trainer Angles at Del Mar
Last year’s version of DRF’s “Bet This, Not That” Trainer Angles for Del Mar, based on Formulator stats, is no longer behind their paywall. We suspect there’s still a lot useful statistical do’s and don’ts, such as Bet Doug O’Neill in turf sprints, but not John Sadler. If you want this year’s you’ll have to pay $20 (by buying the Player’s Guide).

Bet This, Not That – Trainer Angles at Saratoga
Similar but more robust than the Del Mar edition, the Daily Racing Form digs into trainer angles for Saratoga. If you want this year’s you’ll have to pay $20 (by buying the Player’s Guide).

Doyle on Del Mar
This useful interview with professional handicapper John Doyle discussing considerations for playing Del Mar, such as “Layoff horses do terrible in the first week.” Focus on the “Del Mar Turf Races” section given the new main track.

How to beat Saratoga
Handicapper Rich Nilsen lays out “…several facets of Saratoga that every handicapper should know”, providing insights on the track and thoughts on strategy for playing the meet. This is another one that’s a few years old but still holds up.

Saratoga Betting Stats and Trends
This post from 2015 by D.S. Williamson of BetAmerica lays out four simple stats and thoughts to help you have a better Saratoga. We’ll keep an eye out for an updated version.

Trainer Angles To Watch at Saratoga – 2014
We recently double checked how these angled fared, and with a few exceptions they held up very well. The exceptions were that Gullo had an off year and Weaver went 0-4 in routes (with one place) but Mott broke is miserable first time starter streak (but overall he’s still not good with first time starters). Hopefully there will be a 2015 edition or update!

We will add more for 2016 as we find them.

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