Aug 6 2018

Know Your Trainers – Chad Brown

A frequent question asked by new fans trying to learn more about horse racing is, “Where do I begin?” My immediate response is generally, “Get to know your trainers.” While learning about topics like distance, class, and pace are important … in my opinion, none are as important as learning about the tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses of trainers. With that thought in mind, we continue our series of articles called “Know Your Trainers.”  In this series we will dig into the statistics of some head trainers and try to make sense of the numbers we find.

So let’s continue with a big name in the business presently, Chad Brown. Our focus will be on two main areas; Graded Stakes and 2-Year old horses, with a couple of extras that we uncovered by surprise.  We limited the data to the past year.  And statistics for this article were gathered on August 3, 2018.

Before we start, here is an explanation of each column in the charts below:

  • STR = Number of starts
  • 1st = Number of wins.
  • 2nd = Number of place finishes.
  • 3rd = Number of show finishes.
  • WIN% = Overall percentage of wins based on number of starts.
  • ITM% = Percentage of times the horse finished In-The-Money (1st, 2nd, or 3rd).
  • ROI = Return on Investment, based on a $2 flat Win bet for every starter. Over $2 is profitable. For example, if there were 100 starters, and the ROI was $3 … The total wagered would equal $200 ($2 x 100). The return would be $300 ($3 x 100). If the ROI were $0.50, then the return would be $50 (50-cents x 100) … resulting in a loss of $150.

Our first look will be in a category that Chad Brown is traditionally very strong in, that’s Graded Stakes races on the grass. Below are the results, separated by the level of Graded Stakes (Grade 1, 2, 3).

The first thing that pops out is the consistency of Chad’s percentages both in terms of Win and In-The-Money (50-68%) finishes for all three levels of Graded Stakes.  Looking at just the Grade-3 results for Chad, you see that 28 of 53 finished first or second.  That’s more than 50% in the exacta.  Good information to consider when constructing your Intra-race wagers.  In fact, if you sum all grades, Chad had 61 of 133 starters finish first or second.

Finally, notice the positive ROI he posts for both Grade 1 ($2.48) and Grade 2 ($2.34) races.  These are solid numbers, especially given the number of starters he had in one year.

Next we’ll look at Graded Stakes races on the dirt.  Here is the chart:

A couple of things stand out on this chart.  First, the ROI is significantly lower for both Grade 1 and Grade 2 races despite his win percentages being only slightly lower than his turf results.  This suggests the betting public are overbetting his runners on dirt.  This creates value for other horses in those races.

Second, his ITM% is lower on dirt than on turf.  This suggests that overall, his best stakes caliber horses remain his turf runners.  With that said, his G2/G3 dirt runners have finished first or second in 15 of 30 starts.  Once again, that 50% in the exactas.

At this time of year, the 2-year old races are in full swing.  For that reason, we will look at our trainer’s records in 2-year old maiden races. We separated the races by surface (Dirt/Turf) and Sprint and Route distances.  Here are the results:

Once again there is a clear distinction between Chad’s results in dirt and turf races, especially in the WIN category. On dirt, he won only 4 of 44 starts.  Though, to his credit, he did have 14 second place finishes in those 44 races. This suggests our trainer has a simple philosophy when it comes to running babies in dirt races.  If they are good enough to win on their own, then great.  But more times than not, these juvenile races are just a stepping stone to races down the road.

His 2-year old maidens on turf certainly win more than on dirt, but it’s not quite as solid as what we saw in Graded Stakes.  He ran a very limited number of sprinters, but 6 of 7 were ITM, so they are well intended.  His routers had solid results and his ROI of $1.89 is basically a break even proposition for the bettor.

The next two categories are a little out of the ordinary, but are quite interesting and can be quite profitable.  The first shows how Chad Brown does in “marathon” races.  For the purpose of this study, we define a marathon as any race having a distance of 10 furlongs (11/4 mile) or more.

Seems like a broken record, but once again Chad’s results are clearly different for dirt and turf.  His dirt results are clearly not profitable for the bettor, but his turf marathons tell a different story.  A solid 27% win rate, and 35 of 75 finished first or second.  I’ve researched a lot of trainers in the “marathon” category, and Chad has some of the best numbers of any trainer I have found.

The next category we will review has a small amount of data, but in the case of Chad Brown, indicates that he is very dangerous when his horses fall under this category – First time in for a Claiming Tag.  Click here to learn more about claiming races.  We separated the results into maidens and non-maiden categories.  MSW stands for Maiden Special Weight and MCL stands for Maiden Claiming races.

As you can see, the results are solid in both categories, with one main difference.  Chad’s maiden claimers are consistent across the board, while his non maiden claimers either win or finish off the board for their first drop in for a tag.  In both cases, Chad seems fully prepared to put horses in spots where they might be claimed, but compensates for the loss of the horse with anticipated purse money.  That is the definition of a “well-meant” horse.  And his positive ROI for these moves merits backing by the bettors.

It seems like Chad Brown has a horse entered in nearly every race at Saratoga this year. For that reason, the final category sums up the first two weeks of racing action. We separated the results by range of Odds for Chad Brown runners. Here are the results:

As you can see, his ROI is not very good for horses less than 2-1 or over 5-1.  So far, the sweet spot is the range of more than 2-1 but less than or equal to 5-1, where he has a 37% win percentage and a $3.15 ROI.  So far his record with horses over 5-1 is zero for nine with only one hitting the board.   Bottom line, if he isn’t being backed at the windows, best to throw him out.  And if he’s being bet too hard (i.e. < 2-1) you’ll have to accept a low return on your win bets.

Finally, his high percentage results for horses under 5-1 make them a solid play in both multi-race and intra-race wagers.

Update, August 20, 2018:

The updated statistics show that the trends by Odds range for Chad Brown remain almost exactly the same as they were in the first two weeks.


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By Neal Benoit

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