08/19/2014 11:22AM

Giwner: Revamping the record books

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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):

Trotters

HORSE TIME AGE-SEX YEAR-TRACK
Sebastian K 1:49 8YO-Horse 2014-Pocono
Giant Diablo 1:50 1/5 7YO-Mare 2007-Lexington

Pacers

HORSE TIME AGE-SEX YEAR-TRACK
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)