Saturday, January 27, 2018

Odds Predictions for the Pegasus Cup

The 2nd running of the $16 million Pegasus World Cup takes place later today at Gulfstream Park. As I did with the Breeders Cup, I will use my newly developed betting market rankings for horse racing to make odds predictions for this race. First, here are updated rankings, broken down by the following categories:
  • Dirt - Horses that run primarily dirt races of a mile or more
  • Turf - Horses than run primarily on the turf
  • Sprint - Horses that run races less than a mile
These rankings are based on odds data and results for all North American thoroughbred races run over the past 120 days. Using techniques similar to that for my other betting market rankings, I use multivariate regression to build connections between the races and derive what the market "thinks" are the best horses.

GLA stands for "Generic Lengths Advantage" and is the expected margin of victory (in lengths) over an average North American thoroughbred. So, Gun Runner would be expected to beat Arrogate by about 1.4 lengths in a mile race.

Dirt Rankings
HorserankGLA
Gun Runner 1 45.17
Arrogate 2 43.76
Sharp Azteca 3 43.25
West Coast 4 42.70
Bolt d'Oro 5 41.03
Collected 6 40.48
Practical Joke 7 39.77
Forever Unbridled 8 39.56
Elate 9 39.35
Gunnevera 10 39.14
Abel Tasman 11 38.55
Battle of Midway 12 38.33
Mor Spirit 13 38.11
McKinzie 14 38.10
Twisted Tom 15 37.60
Keen Ice 16 37.55
Paradise Woods 17 37.35
Irap 18 37.18
Backyard Heaven 19 37.14
Awesome Slew 20 36.96
Seymourdini 21 36.52
Good Magic 22 36.48
Stellar Wind 23 36.24
Solomini 24 36.19
Moonshine Memories 25 36.17

Turf Rankings
HorserankGLA
Highland Reel (IRE) 1 40.22
Lady Aurelia 2 38.65
Lady Eli 3 38.61
Beach Patrol 4 37.72
World Approval 5 37.35
Rhododendron (IRE) 6 36.69
Disco Partner 7 36.55
Ribchester (IRE) 8 36.22
Marsha (IRE) 9 35.87
Big Handsome 10 35.83
Wuheida (GB) 11 35.26
Talismanic (GB) 12 35.21
Sharp Samurai 13 35.13
Idaho (IRE) 14 34.74
Seventh Heaven (IRE) 15 34.74
Grand Jete (GB) 16 34.60
White Flag 17 34.49
Cambodia 18 34.49
Sadler's Joy 19 34.37
Richard's Boy 20 34.35
Pure Sensation 21 34.26
Decorated Knight (GB) 22 34.23
Zhukova (IRE) 23 34.23
Mo Town 24 34.21
Muqtaser 25 34.21

Sprint Rankings
HorserankGLA
Roy H 1 42.45
Imperial Hint 2 42.24
Drefong 3 41.47
El Deal 4 39.61
American Anthem 5 39.42
Mind Your Biscuits 6 38.93
Skye Diamonds 7 38.81
Unique Bella 8 38.70
American Pastime 9 37.52
Ami's Mesa 10 37.46
Ransom the Moon 11 37.32
Coal Front 12 37.04
Carina Mia 13 36.88
Stallwalkin' Dude 14 36.30
Paulassilverlining 15 35.81
Takaful 16 35.28
Pink Lloyd 17 34.96
Montauk 18 34.94
Favorable Outcome 19 34.81
Finley'sluckycharm 20 34.56
Ivan Fallunovalot 21 34.43
Limousine Liberal 22 33.98
Tale of S'avall 23 33.95
Quezon 24 33.92
City of Light 25 33.87

I've fixed a few kinks from my prior rankings, and overall I would say these pass a general reasonability test. Compare these rankings to the Watchmaker Watch weekly rankings published at the Daily Racing Form (note that my dataset doesn't know when a horse has been retired, which is why Arrogate and Lady Eli still show up here).

In addition, I have found that these rankings can be used to create odds predictions for any race and that they are almost as accurate (and in some cases, more accurate) as the morning line odds set by expert handicappers.

Here is how my rankings would set the odds for the Pegasus World Cup, and how they compare to the morning line:

win probabilityodds
Horsemorning lineinpredictablediffmorning lineinpredictable
Gun Runner 44.9% 31.6% -13.4% 4/5 3/2
Sharp Azteca 11.6% 20.0% 8.5% 6/1 3/1
West Coast 9.0% 17.6% 8.6% 8/1 7/2
Collected 9.0% 10.4% 1.4% 8/1 7/1
Gunnevera 5.1% 7.6% 2.5% 15/1 10/1
Stellar Wind 2.6% 3.8% 1.2% 30/1 20/1
War Story 3.1% 3.7% 0.6% 25/1 20/1
Giant Expectations 2.6% 2.2% -0.4% 30/1 35/1
Seeking the Soul 3.1% 1.2% -1.9% 25/1 65/1
Fear the Cowboy 2.6% 1.0% -1.6% 30/1 80/1
Toast of New York 3.9% 20/1
Singing Bullet 2.6% 0.8% -1.8% 30/1 100/1

As far as order, my rankings are in pretty good agreement with the morning line. We both have Gun Runner as the clear favorite, with Sharp Azteca, West Coast, Collected, and Gunnevera coming in 2-5. However, my rankings are not quite as confident in Gun Runner, and would expect the 2017 Horse of the Year's odds to climb from 4/5 to to 3/2. This field is very strong, and I would argue even stronger than last year's Pegasus Cup, where Arrogate went off at 0.90 odds. 4/5 seems a bit too confident for this field (but I know very little about horse racing).

After the race, I will circle back on the accuracy of these predictions, as well as close the loop on how my Breeders Cup predictions did last year.