08/19/2014 12:22PM

Giwner: Revamping the record books


Did you know there was a world record set on Saturday? Dancin Yankee broke the mark for fastest older horse on a half-mile track with a 1:48 4/5 clocking. What does that really mean? Well, it is relevant that he became the fastest ever at Saratoga, but the world record holds little weight in my book since he really isn’t the fastest older horse.

Confused? Join the club.

For the purposes of racing, 4-year-olds are considered older horses and must compete against the most accomplished pacers and trotters ages 4 through 14. But for some reason their records are afforded a separate category by our record keepers.

Derick Giwner   He's Watching after his record mile.

So when Dancin Yankee paced his sizzling mile he actually became the second fastest “older” horse behind Pet Rock, who put up a 1:48 1/5 mile at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in 2013. But since Pet Rock set the record as a 4-year-old, even though he set the mark while racing against older foes, he doesn’t get credit for being the fastest ever older horse on a half-mile track.

We force 4-year-olds to face their elders if they want to race for big stakes money, but deny them deserved recognition.

We need to trim the fat when it comes to our records and the 4-year-old example is far from the only show of excess.

Can anyone explain the purpose behind having separate records for colt/horses and geldings?  Is that a consolation prize to the gelding for losing his manhood?

Sweet Lou is the fastest 2-year-old on a mile track with a 1:49 mark. But for some reason Sheer Desire gets recognition as the fastest 2-year-old gelding with his 1:49 3/5 mile. Why? The only answer I can figure is that we’ve always done it that way.

Another strange category is records on greater than a mile track. If you notice none of the records show a track name. Why? Because the whole section is dedicated to the only track that fits the bill—Colonial Downs. Why can’t these records be incorporated into a seven-eighths mile or larger category and we can just place an asterisk next to the 1 1/4 miles record holders?

And did anyone notice that for the sake of the records Mohawk is considered a mile track. Ooops, that must have slipped through the cracks because last time I checked it was a seven-eighths oval.

The system needs to be modified and simplified. I’m okay with having separate records for each track size. Smaller tracks produce slower times and comparing them to larger tracks is like apples vs. oranges.  Even some age separation is reasonable—2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, older horses. Splitting up the boys and girls is fine as well.

Let’s get it down to the essentials and stop recognizing achievement that doesn’t warrant the spotlight. Let’s make the words “World Record” mean something a bit more special.

For what it is worth, here are the World Records that matter most—the fastest performers on each gait regardless of age or track size (data courtesy ustrotting.com):


Sebastian K 1:49 8YO-Horse 2014-Pocono
Giant Diablo 1:50 1/5 7YO-Mare 2007-Lexington


Cambest 1:46 1/5 5YO-Horse 1993-Springfield*
Somebeachsomewhere 1:46 4/5 3YO-Colt 2008-Red Mile
He's Watching 1:46 4/5 3YO-Colt 2014-Meadowlands
Holborn Hanover 1:46 4/5 5YO-Gelding 2006-Meadowlands
Warrawee Needy 1:46 4/5 4YO-Horse 2013-Meadowlands
Shebestingin 1:47 3YO-Filly 2013-Lexington

*Time Trial (you can decide if it counts as a real record)


Robert Clayton More than 1 year ago
The crazy thing for me with all these chemical induced times with the claimers is that every pace at Pocono seems to go between 148 and 152.....It's crazy how much faster the cheap claimers go now than they did 5 or 10 years ago but the best of the best still go about the same times.....Im guessing 147 is about the bottom.....At the rate we are going 10 claimers and invitationals are all going to be going the same speed in 5 years
Jack H More than 1 year ago
to me the most significant stat right now is the number of sub 1:48 miles Sweet Lou has strung together. Honestly never thought I would see that.
Dante Sindori More than 1 year ago
Good story with points that are easy to agree with. Who cares about time trials anymore? Totally irrelevant. World records are broken do often they are becoming meaningless. The important ones should be sensationalized, but many others are hyped in stories just to try to draw interest. Remember story writers that your audience is made up exclusively of insiders and diehards and they will not be so easily impressed by innumerable world records. You are preaching to the choir.