05/06/2010 5:48PM

Arlington: Thursday final (speed, speed)

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Coming up to the nightcap on Thursday's card. It would be disingenous for me to post anything hinting at an authoritative perspective, because, quite frankly, I am Poly-clueless at the moment. My assumption is that I'll start to gain some sort of toehold before the meet gets too far along, and I'm totally buried, but today especially, and the meet in general, I've been slow at grasping trends, 'getting' the mechanics of what's going on out there.

Here are the facts: We've had seven synthetic races so far, and five have gone to front-running winners. None of the winners lacked logical backing, and in most cases, the early fractions have been relatively slow. Therefore, there's not a strong case for a speed bias, and two winners have rallied in the stretch to win on Poly.

One reason for slow fractions is wind: It was warm and from the west yesterday, but things turned 180 degrees: It's a cold east wind off Lake Michigan today, with temps some 25 degrees cooler than on Wednesday. But, in addition to the wind, I see horses slipping loose on crazily easy leads here. Take the featured sixth, in which Gran Estreno went the opening half-mile of a one-turn mile in 50.49 seconds. That's like an alien language put in a larger historical racing context. Needless to say, Gran Estreno thumped foes. There is absolutely no reason a front-runner who finishes at all on the synthetic can't win right now: So, why are so many riders still taking such a big hold?

Late update: Pink Belle Girl just won the last of the day -- leading all the way. The half-mile split in this low-level, one-turn-mile claimer? 47.46 econds, or three full seconds faster than the same split set by the $62,500 horse going the same distance a couple hours ago.

Ummmm: Help?