Ellis Park: Track Profile, Vulnerable Favorites, and High Impact Jockeys

June 21st, 2023

Whether you’ve been paying close attention or want to turn your focus to Ellis Park, here are some trends to guide your play. 

Track Profile

Ellis has been a fairly straightforward track the past two weeks. With six days of racing in the books, we have a clear sense specifically of how the main oval is playing. Inside speed has been king on the dirt.

On the main track, 74% of the winners have been first or second through the opening two calls. That's 40 of the first 54 races. No post higher than 8 has won at six furlongs, and only a handful have won going any of the other dirt distances.

Pay extra attention to horses classified by Brisnet as having a front-running (E) or pressing (E/P) running style. Even if they don’t win, the horses who are getting the lead are holding on for a piece, so if you are building out exactas and trifectas, it would be a bold call to fade the horse who you think will get the lead. 

If this meet is anything like last year, these trends will continue to hold. 

Vulnerable Favorites

However, the public money has been batting well below its national average, as favorites have only won 27% of the first 59 races. That’s after five favorites won on Saturday, June 10, so we’re not seeing the win market get sharper the further we get into the racing. With a little bit of handicapping work, there’s value to be had.

High Impact Jockeys

With Tyler Gaffalione and Luis Saez in the colony, other jockeys' mounts are, as expected, often getting overlooked. The four to pay extra attention to in terms of having a high impact in terms of displaying difference-making rides and offering value at the windows include Gerardo Corrales, Cristian Torres, Francisco Arrieta, and Luan Machado

Making his presence known in his first meet at Ellis, Torres has been on fire. He currently sits tied for first with Tyler Gaffalione in the jockey standings. He has won eight races in 23 mounts for a strike rate of 35%.   

Despite winning the riding title last year at Ellis Park, bettors are still overlooking Corrales. He won four of his last 14 races and the average odds of those mounts were 8.91-1.

Arrieta has won four races, as well. Only two of those four were deemed to have a decent shot by the public.

None of Machado’s mounts have been expected to win, and of his three scores, the highest odds were 27-1.