08/19/2008 10:46PM

Dark Day 4: Q&A Catchup


Took an actual day off today and am about to crack open Wednesday's pp's for the first time, but just to keep the chain of daily postings unbroken, let's catch up on a few of the many questions you've posed that I haven't gotten around to answering.

--saratoga_mike said: "Given the severe overnight downpours and current drenching rain, it looks like we might be off the turf for Wed."

He wrote that at 7:40 this morning, when indeed it had been raining for hours, but it stopped by mid-morning and it's been windy and sunny all day and the forecast for the rest of the week is pretty benign. So I'm handicapping as if tomorrow's races are staying on the grass.

--tim_roberts said: "Steve, you gonna give me directions that will get me from Belmont to Saratoga in exactly 3 hours?"

I took the Cross Island to the Whitestone to the Hutch to the Cross County to the Thruway. Where I drove 75 the rest of the way.

--ray_manley said: "Several months ago someone on Dan's blog mentioned that Churchill Downs would end up with this years Breeders Cup due to the never ending track problems at Santa Anita. Have you heard anything about this? This would certainly be one way of bringing Curlin and Big Brown together.

I think it would take a complete disaster with the new Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita for the Breeders' Cup to be relocated at this late date. Personally, I would have relocated it to Churchill or Belmont last spring after the problems Santa Anita had, and given them a year rather than three weeks to race on it before using it for a day of championship races, but I think that window has closed.

todd_r said: Has anyone heard a good, valid, justifiable explanation as to why the Breeder's Cup is being run two years in a row at Santa Anita? I thought it was a terrible idea when it was announced way back when, and as we inch closer, I think it is even more of a horrendous idea given the synthetic surface. Any thoughts?

The official explanation was that there were "marketing benefits" and "synergies" in having the BC at the same site for two years running, and that Belmont (franchise negotiations) and Churchill (dissatisfaction with revenue-sharing deal) did not make acceptable presentations for 2009. I'm dubious about the importance of the first argument and think the second could have been overcome by giving both situations a little more time. The legislation extending NYRA's franchise was passed shortly after Breeders' Cup made the announcement, and I fail to see why the 2009 site had to be announced 19 rather than 18 or 16 months before the event.

--virgin_queen said: "Do u know off hand whether pete rose was a chalk eating weasel.by the way do u think he should b in the hall of fame?

From all accounts, Rose was no chalk-chaser. He liked to play the pick-6, and the horse Rob Murphy touted him on was a 40-1 shot. And yes, I do think he should be in the Hall of Fame.

--prozac_jack said: "If a trainer has an uncoupled entry can he CASH a winning Pick 6 ticket with only ONE of his horses?"

The way the rule is written in NY, a trainer may not bet against his own horse. It would probably be splitting hairs to argue that using only the obviously stronger half of an uncoupled entry would be betting "against" the other one, but it would certainly raise eyebrows if he used his 10-1 shot but not an uncoupled 3-5.

--larry_villasmil said: "Do we have access to info on the actual weight of the horses in a race? Where I come from, the "forms" included the actual weight of each horse in a race, and I used it as an indication of wellness and advantage...

This (along with adoption programs for retired racers) is an area where greyhound racing is ahead of the Thoroughbred game. Greyhounds have a permanent assigned weight (Badger Pluto and Badger Popeye were both 78-pounders) and they must weigh in before the race within two pounds of it or they are scratched. Their actual racing weight the day of the race also becomes part of their permanent past-performance record. We'd happily provide this information in DRF but no U.S. jurisdiction collects it or is required to do so.

--silkysullivan said: "Where do you get your info on will pays, number of possible winning tickets etc.?"

I get it from the NYRA Rewards account-wagering site where I do most of my betting. Almost every account-wagering service has some version of them, or if you don't have a betting account you can try the live tote at drf.com. I find this a lot handier than waiting for the displays of will-pays on track monitors, which takes forever.

--mark_s said: "One 6-oz corn dog = 375 calories, 21g fat (6g saturated), 75mg cholesterol, 1170mg sodium (!). To burn this off, you can do 103 mins walking, 43 mins jogging, 31 mins swimming, or 57 mins cycling. Your choice.

Okay, but how many calories does one burn while handicapping? And does it double for statebred turf sprints?

On that note, time to burn some midnight oil as well as some calories. Five grass races tomorrow, with a total of 73 entries. A few days of running some grass races with full fields and we might just get the first double-carryover of the meeting. I can't remember a Saratoga with only two single carries and no double carries in four weeks.