Sterling Serling

You know how I feel about the thought that drivers make horses go faster by magically yelling at them differently or whipping them harder, namely it is a quick way to go into the poorhouse. Perhaps it is an apt day (a day which Brian Sears won a ton of races at the Meadowlands) that I came across a snippet of a quote from Andy Serling on jockeys. For harness folks who don't know him, Serling caps for NYRA tracks. He is, in my opinion, the best thoroughbred handicapper in a public forum in North America for the runners.

In response to a capper who said "World class riders become world class riders because they make horses run who don't appear like they can run on paper", he said:

Not at all. The top riders are the ones that win with the highest percentage of their mounts that are supposed to win. That's all.

That is a sharp a statement on jockeys or drivers that you will ever see. I can see why his picks on the pre-game show have an ROI over 1.0, while many of his compatriots who tout driver/rider switches because they think that they make horses go faster are stuck in the 0.70's.


Anonymous said...

I don't understand. Clarify for me?

Anonymous said...

if a jockey were to get only bad horses to run, say 100 horses that in reality only 5 of them would win and he wins with 20 of them, his ROI would still be low, but isn't he a good jockey for getting 15 more horse to win than could be expected.

Pull the Pocket said...

"but isn't he a good jockey for getting 15 more horse to win than could be expected."

Andy's point is that such a person does not exist. I agree.

Pull the Pocket said...

"I don't understand. Clarify for me?"

For harness racing: A horse is genetically capable of going 151. A bad driver (like say a part time trainer driver) will make a mistake more often and the horse will go 152. A good driver will get the horse closer to his 151 potential, more often. But most importantly, they do not make a horse genetically capable of going 151, go 149.

Anonymous said...

I always look at it that jockey or driver who makes the least mistakes will have the best outcomes.
Proof is the frequency of horse who throw their jockey and wind up beating the field. I don't think it is lack of weight that does it, but lack of dead weight.

SaratogaSpa said...

Might the Jockey though be more important than the driver. Do we consider the Jockey at all in our betting angles, or should we just throw it out.

Pull the Pocket said...

I model jocks with my database on small tracks. Some guys are good with speed, some are not etc. On big tracks where they are all good I don't pay attention. The J/T angles are on the forms and in the BRIS programs, so I don't want to pay attention to public data like that.

As for harness racing I don't look at them at all. I once heard a little old lady coming into the race area from the slots say "I wanted to bet that horse because he is a driver change to Brian Sears." I want to be fading that action.


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