Four Fair Grounds Betting Trends

November 18th, 2023

The much anticipated Fair Grounds meeting got underway on Friday, November 17, with a trio of black-type races leading a nine-race opening day card. Below are a few of the things to watch for throughout the 76-day meet, which runs through March 24. 

Speed Plays Well in Sprint Races on the Dirt

While there is a perception that Fair Grounds is a track made for closing types, it’s simply not true. During the most recent meeting at the New Orleans venue, horses with Brisnet ‘E’ and ‘E/P’ running styles accounted for 73% of the winners at six furlongs, as well as 71% at 5 1/2 panels on the main strip. The numbers are more even in the dirt routes, but pace makes the race going short more often than not in the dirt dashes. 

Closing Types Thrive on the Lawn

Horses running from off the pace at the about 1 1/16-mile distance, which is a common trip on the local green, yielded a substantial number of winners rallying from well off of the early tempo. The contenders with a Brisnet ‘P’ or ‘S’ running style accounted for 60% of the victories, while just 10% of the first-place finishers were seen forcing the pace from the opening bell. The numbers were more balanced in turf sprints, but keep a close eye on the best closing types in the route races on the sod.

Jockeys to Watch

Pilot Reylu Gutierrez had something of a breakout performance last campaign when he held a comfortable edge over his fellow jockeys with 64 wins. The rising star will be a major presence once again this stanza, as he has mounts in 17 of the 19 races over the first two days of racing at Fair Grounds. I expect him to be a prime contender in the jockeys’ race once again. 

Florent Geroux doesn’t ride locally as often as Gutierrez, but the French import makes the most of his mounts when he arrives at this venue. Geroux was 33-103 (32 percent) at the recent Fair Grounds meeting and will undoubtedly have a plethora of live ones in the stakes contests. 

Trainers to Watch

Brad Cox was tied for second with 37 tallies in the previous meeting and won with a substantial 37% of his runners overall, as well. He often unveils numerous young prospects at Fair Grounds, and the top conditioner will also be a major presence in the marquee events at the meet. 

Bret Calhoun, who also saddled 37 first-place finishers, and Tom Amoss, who was 29% here last season, are two others to keep a keen eye on for the duration of the meeting.