08/13/2010 3:16PM

Arlington: Friday conditions & race 1 weirdness


90 degrees and humid. South wind (cross wind) 10-14 mph.
Turf firm, rail six feet outside lane 1.
12 scratches on this card, for some reason. Excessive heat?
Five years ago, just completed race 1 would not have been recognized as horse racing. Seven-furlong Poly sprint, with opening quarter-mile in 23 seconds and change, yet there were most of the field with riders firmly holding back their mounts to stay AWAY from the dawdling pace. Hello, Poly. So, the leaders are walking, and here's first-time starter Shotgun Luke under such a death grip from jockey Florent Geroux that he almost blows the far turn while racing way back in last. I probably do not need to tell you who actually won this 2yo maiden-claimer going away. Yep - Shotgun Luke from way last to way first in three-eighths of a mile, that behind no pace whatsoever. Three-quarters split in 1:14.69, final seven-furlong time of 1:28.60. I've been seeing craziness like this for several years now, and I still feel like my head is going to explode sometimes.
Winner a Put it Back firster from barn of Doug Matthews, who is on a good little roll right now.