01/14/2011 4:16PM

Fair Grounds: Speed bias on main track

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I posted here after race 1 about fast fractions and a front-end winner. I watched in race 3 as 25-1 Road Map led throughout in a dirt route, but the splits there were much slower, which made one think twice about proclaiming a speed bias. But now I've seen enough. No Lip dueled inside through splits of 23.55 and 46.97 in a La-bred MSW dirt route, turned back his pace rival and won by about 100 lengths. No way a horse at this class level holds up through that sizzling half-mile pace without a bias at work. There's some sun out, and things are warming up after another cold night, so who knows if the track is going to change. But if you're betting a dirt race for the time being, you've got to try and find a front-runner.