Delaware Park Handicappers’ Notebook 2022 Vol. 16

Correspondent Mike Valiante shares his weekly Delaware Park Handicappers’ Notebook, featuring horses to watch, bet-backs, and more.

Each week he’ll give you the skinny on how the races are unfolding, which horses overcame the bias (or profited from it), and who had troubled trips. Plus, he’ll provide trainer and jockey of the week picks, and much more.

Notable races and trips

September 7 – September 10

All but three races were run on the dirt last week. In those 29 dirt races 10 winners led at the first call. Six winners were second at the first call. Six winners were third at the first call.

September 8

  • Race 7: The Cape Henlopen Stakes was taken off the turf. A new track record was set by the winner Next, who got the rarely run distance of 1 1/2 miles on the dirt in 2:30.25. More impressive was the ease at which the winner achieved the 18 1/4-length win. In top shape and should be set up for a good next performance.

September 9

  • Race 8: Wall was the only winner on the dirt last week that was not 5th or closer at the first call. Always check out horses that won against a trend when they come back.

September 10

  • Race 7: Soleada appears to be a good closer on the turf. In her previous race against some of the same rivals she closed to finish second as the favorite. In this race she was fractious at the gate and left herself too much to do after being dead last at the half. She can win at this class level. Downtown Katie was the winner in this contest. In a previous Notebook we commented that bad racing luck was the reason she lost her previous contest. Her jockey Jaime Rodriguez guided her beautifully this time, and she won easily as the 2.90-1 favorite.

Jockey and Trainer of the Week

With six wins and 15 ITM finishes last week from 20 mounts, jockey Jaime Rodriguez completed his second fantastic week in a row. In that two-week time span he has 13 wins and 32 ITM finishes from 45 mounts. Jaime was very competitive on the tough Maryland circuit last winter, and if he decides to go there again this year there is no reason to believe he won’t be a factor again.

Trainer Gary Capuano only sent out three horses last week. Two of them won and the other came in second. For the meet he is winning at a 35% clip.

Handicappers’ Toolbox

How best to handle your bankroll? Old time handicapping books often advised to bet a set percentage of your total bankroll on each race, the thought being that your bets would increase in size when you were on a hot streak and your bankroll grew, or vice versa when you were on a cold streak. This advice is more suited to a time when exotic bets were not as popular and in the belief that you could steadily grind your way to profits. Not sure if the latter statement was ever true, so this percentage maxim is only good as a reminder to always bet within your means. Ideally you should only bet when you have a strong opinion and when you think there is an overlay bet on the board. Your heaviest bets should be made when this duality of your contrary strong opinion exists. If you need “action bets” to fill the long time period between finding these rare opportunities, that is when you should make much smaller bets.