When a meet starts, top trainers can win races in bunches

January 31st, 2024

At the start of a race meet, it can be useful to look back at previous meets and find out which trainers won the most races. If one name consistently ranks at or near the top of the rankings, you can usually assume that trainer will enjoy success at the upcoming meet as well.

This was vividly apparent when Turf Paradise began its 2024 race meet on the later-than-usual date of Jan. 29. The last three meets had been dominated by trainer Justin Evans. During the winter/spring 2021 meet, he went 64-for-212 (30%) while no other trainer won more than 30 races. During the 2021-22 meet, Evans went 57-for-254 (22%), again topping the standings by a clear margin. And across the 2022-23 meet, Evans went 69-for-279 (25%), winning 28 races.

If betting had been offered on which trainer would top the 2024 standings at Turf Paradise, Justin Evans would have been a heavy favorite. And bettors attuned to Evans’ consistent success at Turf Paradise enjoyed a phenomenal start to the 2024 meet.

Evans’ first starter on opening day was Big Beauty, the 1-2 favorite in an $8,500 claimer. The result was never in doubt; Big Beauty led all the way to win by seven lengths, and TwinSpires bettors who followed the recommendations in Best Bets and Quick Picks cashed a cold $15 exacta that paid $45.

The second Evans starter, Berolijean, finished fourth at odds of 4-1 in a $6,250 claimer. But Evans wrapped up opening day with a second victory, saddling 5-1 shot Principe Carlo to spring a mild upset in the Hank Mills Sr. S.

Two wins from three starters, not bad. But Evans took things to another level on Jan. 30, the second day of the meet. His first starter of the afternoon was New Every Morning, who won a $4,000 claimer by 1 1/2 lengths as the 7-10 favorite. Best Bets and Quick Picks followers cashed an $18 win bet that paid $30.60 and a cold $8 double wager that returned $28.

Then came an $8,500 claimer in which Collect Dis Money, the 12-5 third choice, led all the way to win by one length. Evans’ third and final starter of the day was Pequena Tormenta, the 2-5 favorite in a $12,500 starter optional claimer, and the six-year-old mare delighted her backers with a gate-to-wire victory.

So let’s recap: Justin Evans started the 2024 Turf Paradise meet with five wins from six starters, generating an 83% win rate. Such a win percentage isn’t sustainable over the long run, but it’s not uncommon for top trainers to win races in bunches at the start of a meet. As the Evans example illustrates, bettors who are prepared to strike while the iron is hot can catch a bevy of winners in short order.