Bob Baffert

The Kentucky Derby and the run for the Triple Crown is a week away. Bob Baffert has won four Kentucky Derby’s, six Preakness Stakes and two Belmont Stakes. This is the beginning of Baffert’s annual Graded Stakes run. He races at the very top of horse racing and at tracks all over the country with his stakes runners.

Bob Baffert grew up on a ranch in Nogales, Arizona with cows and chickens. His father purchased some quarter horses and Baffert found what he wanted to do with his life, race horses. He started racing and riding in illegal races around Nogales when he was still a little boy. He went legal with thoroughbreds and scored his first win at age 17 when he was a jockey. He went to college and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree.

At age 20 he had the reputation on the backstretch that he could train and other trainers tried to hire him as their trainer.

In 1993 when I decided to track trainers in Southern California, Baffert was 39.

In 1994 simulcasting came along and Bob Baffert was immediately noticeable. He was a claiming trainer. My stats showed he was a claim 2 sprint guy. He had a good percentage on claim 1 sprint where he went 28-6-21%. On claim 2 sprint he was 18-7-39% to win.

I have been placing bets on Baffert’s runners since 1994. When he first came up I wanted to see what he looked like. I do that with all trainers. They are stars to me. Baffert had white hair. My guess is he went gray early around the time his father brought home those quarter horses when he was around 10 or 12 years old.

Baffert developed great stakes runners like Real Quiet who Baffert nicknamed The Fish for his slender frame and War Emblem who Baffert nicknamed Hannibal Lecture because he bites. Both of these horses won the Kentucky Derby.

He trained Pioneerof the Nile who came in second in the Kentucky Derby and who went on to win graded stakes races. Pioneerof the Nile retired to the breeding shed. His stud fee is $110,000 where he produced a colt named American Pharoah. Bob Baffert trained American Pharoah who made horse racing history by winning the Triple Crown with jockey Victor Espinoza aboard. American Pharoah has a stud fee of $200,000. What ever Baffert saw in the father he saw the same thing in his son as well as the jockey.

If I wanted to place a bet on Bob Baffert it had to be on the California tracks where he is based. The past four years Baffert went to post 1,330 times in Southern California. 309 won and 236 placed. 23% to win and 41% in the exacta. That’s around 333 races a year, about 13 races every 2 weeks.

The way Bob Baffert wins is very interesting. He has many wealthy owners however, he does not have one dominate owner. 226 races in four years is his largest stable. That is one race every week or so however, Bob Baffert selects every horse he wants in his barn.

Baffert has only 37 races in the claiming class about 9 a year. That is quiet a stat. I thought I must have missed some thing and double checked and nope there were 37 claiming races. He hit the exacta with 13, a 35% exacta rate. How many Maiden Claim races did he run? Only 89 races in Maiden Claming. About every other week he runs a Maiden Claimer. Bob Baffert does not drop from Maiden Special Weight to Maiden Claim, the biggest drop in racing, hit the purse and the claiming price and wash him out of his barn because he needs the stall space for another well bred prospect. 26 of his horses were claimed away, 18 were Maiden Claimers, 11 won for a 61% win rate. I do like betting that trainer move Maiden Special Weight to Maiden Claim.

Allowance Optional Claim Baffert raced 251 times and won with 62 for a 25% win rate.

These three class levels produced only 377 races over four years leaving 953 races for Maiden Special Weight and Stakes races.

Baffert’s Maiden Special Weight (MSW) races lead directly into his stakes stats. 582 MSW races produced 122 winners for a 21% win rate. That’s around 30 winners a year from MSW. These 122 winners produced 336 stakes runners and 85 wins for a 25% hit rate. That’s around 21 stakes winners a year in Southern California. When Baffert’s horses are entered in stakes races he averages a stakes win around every four races.

Many of these stakes runners will be fuel for me to bet Allowance Optional Claim races. Baffert does not race much in the Allowance class races the reason is purse size. Allowance purses start at around $30,000. He has only 23 starts in that class. The horses going into the Optional Claiming class races is a drop in class. The purse structure is lower; $100,000 for stakes purses and $56,000 for Allowance Optional Claim purses. Bob Baffert gives his pedigree horse a chance to hit against not quite as good pedigree in the Optional Claiming class.

In Bob Baffert’s MSW to Stakes races we have seen an exciting blend of runners and how they win on the track. Except for turf races, on the green Baffert went 141-14-10%, winners. No stakes runners were tried on the turf.

I have recorded Bob Baffert’s stats by hand from the Daily Racing Form to a spread sheet and betting him from Maryland as he came up before he became a Kentucky Derby winner. Then he had back to back Kentucky Derby winners along with a Triple Crown winner.

Bob Baffert started out with Quarter horses and moved to California working at Los Alamitos where he switched to Thoroughbreds around 1992. He started like all good trainers with the claiming game by claiming horses and winning and he got noticed because of his results. Today he still gets the same results as he did in the beginning, just in a different way. I had to change as Baffert’s barn changed and the pedigree improved and it did not take very long. Baffert is remarkably consistent where he placed his horses by class and so were my bets. Baffert did not start at the top. He worked his way there and it seems like he has been there for a really long time.

For the first Saturday in May in the Kentucky Derby Bob Baffert has the 2/1 morning line favorite with his horse Justify.

Bob Baffert has 2 Stakes runners today at Santa Anita:
Race 4 #6 Plein Air 8/5 Stakes on the Turf .
This Stakes runner is a Claim 1 Route on the Turf. Baffert has not made a route claim in 9 years.  I had to go back to my 1993 stats on Baffert. He is 11-2-18% on Claim 1 Route.

Race 5 #4 Dr Dorr 8/5 Stakes on the Dirt.
The horse has won 2 in a row.
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Opening Day and No Plays

Finger Lakes opens Saturday and trainer Chris Englehart has no runners.

For me opening day will be Monday the 23rd for Jockey John Davila Jr. and trainer Chris Englehart where these two have three runners whose race record in sprint races is 819-419-51%. I’ll play him Monday.

Woodbine also opens Saturday. Mark Casse has 4 starters in race 1 and 7 with jockey Gary Boulanger. His record with Casse is 223-63-23% exacta stats in sprints. A good jockey though I will pass the Boulanger stats.

Mark  Casse’s go-to jockey is Patrick Husbands. Casse and Husbands are in race 6 on the #7 Machtree who is 3/1 in a route race and exacta stats of 346-142-41% . The horse has three layoffs in four races. He also has a win but three layoffs? I’ll pass. They are in race 8 the # 5 where Husbands and Casse are 520-238-46% in sprints races. The horse last won in 2016, I’ll pass.

Karl Broberg has 6 starters for Lone Star’s Saturday card. The jockey Richard Eramia is named on five sprinters. Eramia and Broberg are 11-5-45% in the exacta at Lone star in sprint races and 6-1-17% in route races. Broberg’s go to Lone Star jockeys are Junior Chacaltano163-76-47%. C.J. McMahon 168-100-60% and Sasha Risenhoover 90-41-46% in the exacta. Karl Broberg is a pass today at Lone Star.

An easy day no plays until Monday.

For today’s blog post on how I find plays with Jockey-Trainer Exacta Report
Answer to a Great Question


Answer to a great question

Question: Ed, I  bought the exacta book for NY. Please give me some advice as to how to use it.

Here is my way of handicapping the jockey trainer report. The report is track specific. I start with this graph to show me the odds and the favorites on each race. I do not start my handicapping on Race 1 Horse 1.

I start with pen and paper and I make a copy of the program (this one is for Aqueduct on Saturday 4/21) and enter the stats for the favorite.

This takes around 20 minutes to do and it tells me what the favorite’s odds are and what races interest me that has a go-to jockey. I handicap these first. I am looking for a play. I want to find a 3/1 morning line favorite or a 5/2 morning line favorite. When the crowd bets they will make the odds drop 2 odds levels from the morning line and they are still good exacta bets.

After I find one stat that has this 3/1 or 5/2 morning line favorite from here I enter all the stats for every jockey-trainer running today. This takes around a half an hour. I always make sure I am on Aqueduct and sprints if it is a sprint race. The left side of the report has that information on every jockey. It is easy to be on the wrong track or distance so this is something that I always check.

From the four races that have lower odds than 3/1 or 5/2 on the favorite I know I will Not have a key bet. In race 1 or race 3 the horses odds are too low on the favorite and I would expect their odds to drop another 3 odds levels. These  offer too little value if I would include them in a bet.

Three races have no jockey trainer stats.

One race has a jockey trainer stat of 7-0

Aqueduct Race 9 the # 4 has John Velazquez with trainer Pletcher and their Jockey-Trainer Exacta stats are 36-15-42%. The only morning line favorite with a go-to jockey and a 5/2 Morning Line. The horse is 5-4-80% in the exacta in stakes races. I think he will be bet down to around 8/5.  Now that I found this Morning Line 5/2 favorite I then enter all the jockey trainer stats for race 9 to find fillers for the exacta. The handicapping starts on race 9. This is the only key bet favorite at Aqueduct that I will bet on Saturday.

Laying out the stats this way allows me to find favorites. This may be that the morning line is a little off and a stat points this out.

In the races that have no stats on the favorite I enter all jockey trainer stats for all the runners to find a non favorite that has a go to jockey stat these are very good bets. I look for stats that have a jockey going back on or on for the first time on this horse. I look mostly for big stats with 10 or more exacta’s and 40% or more.


Race 1 # 5 Sprint 1/2 Velazquez John / Pletcher Todd 66-23-45% is a pass at a 1/2 M/L. This is too low to bet, $3.00 if he wins. There are only 3 level of odds left. Even with a go to jockey they will offer no value for an exacta. I will pass and hope he hits to keep his stats high.

Race 2 # 6 Route 9/5 Cohen D. / Diodoro R. No stats.

Race 3 # 5 Route 7/5 McCarthy T. / Hills A. No stats

Race 4 # 5 Sprint 8/5 Franco M. / Pletcher T. 26-8-31%

Race 5 # 3 Route 5/2 Franco M. / Rodriguez R. 31-9-29%

Race 6 # 7 Sprint 3/1 Maragh R. / Martin C. 8-3-38%

Race 7 # 9 Route 3/1 Maragh R. / McLaughlin K. 7-0

Race 8 # 1 Route 2/1 Lezcano J. / Rodriguez R. No Stats

Race 9 # 4 Sprint 5/2 Velazquez J. / Pletcher T. 36-15-42%

Race 10 # 12 Route 5/2 Velazquez J. / Toner J. 4-2-50%

This approach to handicapping puts my mind right on a stat that is a favorite that has decent odds.  3/1 Morning Line favorite is my favorite go-to jockey stat.  In other words I look at the races and locate the race that has the favorite at 3/1 and a go-to jockey.  I will bet odds in the exacta who is a favorite down to 8/5 as the lowest odds to bet at post.  Once the crowd bets the morning line has no impact what so ever.

Just as the horse has a starting gate to get him into the race. This is how I start every day to find one play

This is a fun way of playing.  You will see races you do not belong in, and races that you will bet and will know by the results you should have passed and races that you bet and you cash over and over for the same reason, a jockey-trainer go-to stat. This is how you learn to handicap, thru trial and error.  Sort of like science.

Here are some other jockey/trainer exacta stats at Aqueduct today;

Race 1 # 3 Eric Cancel / James Ryerson Route 10-5-50% Route 15/1

Race 4 # 3 Dylan Davis / Ed Barker 11-7-64% Sprint 10/1

Race 6 # 4 Manuel Franco / Chris Everhart 47-15-32% Sprint 5/1

Race 7 # 8 Manuel Franco / Phil Serpe 9-4-44% Route 9/2

Race 8 # 3 Rajiv Maragh / George Weaver 15-6-40% Route 4/1

Race 10 # 4 Manuel Franco / Raymond Handel 12-5-42% Route 6/1

Race 10 # 11 Jose Lezcano / Bill Mott 16-8-50% Route 10/1

We have Jockey-Trainer Exacta reports available for these tracks. A total of 16:
Southern California (includes Del Mar, Los Alamitos and Santa Anita)
New York (includes Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga)
Illinois (includes Arlington, Hawthorne)
Indiana  (download only)
Louisiana (includes FG, Louisiana, Delta Evangeline) download only
Prairie Meadows (download only)
 (includes Sam Houston, Lone Star, Retama)
Laurel Park
Kentucky (includes Churchill, Ellis Park, Keeneland, Turfway)
Golden Gate
Finger Lakes

These are offered in .pdf for immediate download to your computer upon purchase.

Special today thru Monday 4/23.

Save 10% when ordering one report by entering coupon code Save10 upon check out OR order two or more of any of these publications and save 15% by entering coupon code Save15 upon check out at the following link:


Santa Anita Race 5 Down the Hill

The first jockey I noticed at Laurel race track was Billy Passmore. Sometimes it means a lot when you are named correctly. Billy Passmore seemed to always make a good run in the stretch passing horses and he was a good reason to put in the exacta. Passmore’s name made me aware of him. When he had the lead and controlled the pace.  How can you go around a guy named Billy Passmore? That was where my interest in jockey’s as a play came from, recognizing a jockey’s name like Billy Passmore. The first thing I wanted to know for all races who is the jockey and who is he riding for.

I have to admit trying to handicap year to date or meet statistics on today’s races is an art and very difficult to do. The names of the jockey’s count and they influence a bet because of their name. They either won for you or they lost for you. Over time you stop blaming the jockeys when they lost the race. Poor handicapping is usually the reason.

I still handicap jockeys today. Santa Anita in Race 5 the Down the Hill turf race has an 8 horse field.

The #1 horse Red Lively is 5/2 morning line. Tyler Baze has good stats down the hill in claiming races.  He is 47-15-31%. The morning line favorite horse is in the exacta 5-4-80% on the down hill. 3 of her races were wins. Trainer Philip D’Amato on a Lay 1 sprint (1st after a layoff in a sprint race) down the hill stats are 16-10-62% with his favorites. Tyler Baze was bought up on the back stretch. His mother and his father, an uncle and Russell Baze are his relatives. Red Lively is a bet. Tyler Baze is a really good jockey.

The #2 horse Beautiful Becca is 5/1 morning line. Mario Gutierrez down the hill in claming races is 11-7-63% in the exacta. A son of a jockey, Mario started out with Quarter horses. He is a great gate rider which is really important on the hill. He has won the Kentucky Derby twice with trainer Doug O’Neil. O’Neil has the #8 horse in this race. This means I am forced to use the #2 and the #8 in the exacta. I do not think that this is a marginal bet. Mario is a tactician on the track and two Kentucky Derby wins.

The #3 horse Rooms is 12/1. Tiera Pereire has 27 races on the hill and has 2 exactas for an 11% exacta hit rate.  Trainer George Papaprodromou is 34-6-17% on the down hill turf race. The horse is 3-0 on the hill. I’ll pass Tiera Pereire.  To me he is an underrated jockey. The good thing for Pereire is Philip D’Amato gives him mounts. Riding for a dominate trainer means he is catching on however, I’ll pass.

The #4 horse Proud ’n’ Ready is 6/1. Joe Talamo is 35-5-14% exacta stats on the hill. That’s a little low for a really good jockey. Most win rates for jockeys mimic the trainers exacta rate. My feelings are many of the trainers he rides for are not focused on turf racing and that may be the reason for his stats. Michael McCarthy is 60-16-26%. I’ll pass. The horse is 5-0 on the hill.

The #5 horse Zuzanna is 20/1. Alonzo Quinonez is 12-4-33% down the hill. With this trainer Steve Knapp they are 34-2-5%.  There are trainers who give Alonzo Quinonez good mounts. Quinonez is 10-6-60% with Brian Koriner and Rosemary Trela is 7-5-71% in the exacta. Small stats in the exacta. A no bet for me. Steve Knapp does not give him hits.

The #6 horse Nine Point Nine is 4/1. Franco Geovanni is 24-5-20% down the hill. A good jockey who is trying to catch on at Santa Anita. Canterbury and Oaklawn are where he has been racing. The horse is a miler. He won 5 races at a mile. Maybe the stamina will kick in for this 6 1/2 furlong turf race and hit the exacta. He is in.

The #7 horse Saida is 6/1. Tyler Conner is 29-5-17% exacta stats on the hill. Jack Carava is 52-7-13% A really good jockey at Delaware and Penn National. I will pass.

The #8 horse A Little Bit Me is 3/1. E. A. Roman is the jockey. I do not have much on him 2-2-100% with Doug O’Neil. Doug O’ Neil down the hill in claiming events is 16-8-50% in exacta stats. He is in because of the trainer stat. I would have thought Mario Gutierrez would have been named on O’ Neil’s runner. The trainer forced me into taking him and the #2 his go to rider Mario Gutierrez even though he is not on him today.

The Bet is an exacta key 1 with 2-6-8 and 2-6-8 with the 1.

I have not played many races on the hill this year.  It was unusual to have hardly any of the top stars at Santa Anita riding in this race. Once the handicappers handicap this race they will see some of the same things I see and I believe they will bet Tyler Baze’s horse.  The problem at post time is will it be worth the bet? Odds are the issue. Where do I pass and then hope the jockey and trainer hit to keep his stats up if I do pass. I will pass the bet below 7/5 which is 6 odds levels down from his morning line.

I still enjoy handicapping and playing jockeys and who they ride for. Every jockey has to handle the adversity of getting good mounts from trainers and battle with the knowledge they are just as good as the guy getting into the starting gate beside them who may be worth $20 million. They may not have the impact of a name like Billy Passmore however; 2 time Kentucky Derby winner Mario Gutierrez gets my attention or the racing family of Tyler Baze is a good place to start. Jockey’s are the key to the exacta.

We just completed the Jockey-Trainer Report for the Louisiana and the Prairie Meadows circuit. We now offer the following 15 Jockey-Trainer Exacta Reports. (The tracks in bold font below are the tracks that are open now).

New York (Aqueduct-Belmont-Saratoga)
Southern California (Delmar-LRC-Santa Anita),
Kentucky (Churchill-Ellis-Keeneland-Turfway),
Golden Gate

Illinois (Arlington-Hawthorne)
Louisiana (Delta-Evangeline-Fair Grounds -Louisiana)
Finger Lakes (opens 4/21)
Prarie Meadows (opens 4/26)
Monmouth (opens 5/5)
Texas (Lone Star (opens 4/19) – Houston-Retama)
Woodbine (opens 4/21)

Today thru Monday 4/16 Save 10% site wide on all publications by entering coupon code Save10 upon checkout
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These reports are the same ones Ed Bain uses and writes about in his New Horse Racing Novel Libraries, Yellow Cheese Sandwiches and 38,880 Running Lines.



Handicapping Trainer Karl Broberg

Karl Broberg

Karl Broberg is a handicapper turned trainer who manages to win just about everywhere. He was a groom for a short time when he was younger. He left the backstretch to start work in advertising with End Zone Athletics. This is also the name of his stable. Broberg’s success allowed him to get into racing as an owner. Horse playing is what he loves and handicapping is the fuel for his love. I know the feeling.

Broberg walks the walk and talks the talk. He leads the country in wins most years his stable is really large over 150 horses. My database has his last 4,587 races where he produced 1,165 wins 25%, 816 seconds 18% place rate and an exacta strike rate of 43%. End Zone Athletics had 1,927 of these races, 506 wins 26%, 336 seconds 17% place rate and an exacta hit rate of 42%. 42% of his races Karl Broberg owned the horse.

Broberg originally had all his runners with John Lock who wanted to take some time off from training so Broberg took over as the trainer. This made sense. He owned all the horses in the barn. Lone Star in Texas is Broberg’s home track. He has five tracks where he has went to post at least 476 times; Lone Star 559 starts, Delta 916 races, Evangeline 663 starts, Prairie Meadows 506 races and at Remington 476 starts. His goal is to have 200 or more horses in his barn.

Karl is a prolific claiming trainer. He has claimed 524 sprinters, 148 won, 84 placed a 28% win rate 16% for place for an exacta strike rate of 44%. Broberg claimed 313 of these sprinters for himself. He won with 85 for a 27% win rate and 50 placed for a 16% place rate and an exacta hit rate of 43%. 60% of his sprint claims were for himself.

Broberg claimed more horses than he has layed off, 360. He is good off the layoff. He was in the exacta 145 times for a 40% hit rate.

He claimed 253 routers, won with 68 for a 26% win rate, 42 placed for a 17% place rate and an exacta hit rate of 43%.

Broberg states he claims every horse with a future race in mind. He says he is a horse player and he approaches training and claiming horses with the mentality of a horse playing handicapper. Not all horse players are handicappers and all handicappers are not created equal. He says if his $10,000 claim does not run well he runs them where they fit, a $4,000 claiming race.

With a big win rate comes all the references to cheating without accusing him of cheating. It seems that all claiming trainers who can produce go through that disapproval from the talking heads in racing and it catches on with the handicappers. Maybe some deserve it and maybe some do not.

Karl Broberg has only minor violations. The most common is too much Bute, an anti inflammatory drug that has short term effects for treatment of pain and fever. Many claiming trainers load up with massive doses of Bute when they run the horse they claimed. The reason is Bute lasts for just about 4 or 5 hours.

Broberg does not have to apologize or defend his nearly 30% win rate because I do not think 30% is a number that needs to be defended. I think he has an advantage with his handicapping. He is aggressive with his placements of his claimed horse and is unafraid of horses getting claimed away at bargain prices.

I bet on the people in racing and cash bets and make money from them. Every bet I make is on the trainer and jockey. I would never find fault with the people that send me to the bank because they are really good handicappers. I too have had a 30% win rate and no ever accused me of cheating.

I track statistics to place bets with and I am not concerned with his win rate. My belief is if any trainer is cheating it will probably show up in a stat and if he is I will bet with him.

Evangeline downs in Louisiana opened on the 4th of April. Karl Broberg has 663 starts and he has been in 355 exactas for a 53% strike rate over the last 5 years.

Karl Broberg is a handicapper. He studies the Racing Form. It is not only about speed. It is also about the trainer he claims from as well as the owners who had the horse. Who is on the horse as well as the nuances of handicapping all the data in the Racing Form like equipment changes and a hundred other things. Do I think Karl Broberg can find an advantage to claim horses through his handicapping and hit at a very high hit rate? The answer is, Yes I think he can.

Karl Broberg has four entries today at Evangeline. I have a bet in Race 4, #6 Slick Rules who is a claim 2 in a sprint race. At Evangeline Broberg had 81 claim 2 sprints and he has been in the exacta with 46 for a 56% exacta hit rate.

Count Down:

Finger Lakes opens in 14 days on 4/21 where I’ll be looking at “The Doozy” stats for Chris Englehart

Woodbine opens in 14 days on 4/21 where I’ll be looking at the go-to stats for trainer Mark Casse news:
The online stats are back up. We have several specials for these and the jockey-trainer exacta reports at the following link:


We just completed the Jockey-Trainer Report for the Louisiana circuit. We now offer 14 Jockey-Trainer Exacta Reports. (The tracks in bold font below are the tracks that are open now).

New York (Aqueduct-Belmont-Saratoga)
Southern California (Delmar-LRC-Santa Anita),
Kentucky (Churchill-Ellis-Keeneland-Turfway),
Golden Gate

Illinois (Arlington-Hawthorne)
Louisiana (Delta-Evangeline-Fair Grounds -Louisiana)
Finger Lakes (opens 4/21)
Monmouth (opens 5/5)
Texas (Lone Star (opens 4/19) – Houston-Retama)
Woodbine (opens 4/21)

Today thru Monday 4/9 Save 10% site wide on all publications (including Ed Bain’s new horse racing novel Libraries, Yellow Cheese Sandwiches and 38,880 Running Lines)  by entering coupon code Save10 upon checkout
order Any 2 publications at the same link and save 15% by entering coupon code Save15 upon checkout at this link:
Book Store