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Harness Racing: Track Records
Speed is the name of the game.
Trips, drivers, classification and other factors are all important, but if your horse is not fast enough the rest is a moot point.
As a harness racing nerd of sorts, the speed angle led me to some research on track records. About 90% of the tracks in North America list records on their websites. Going from site to site, I compiled a list of the fastest of the fastest at each track (I take no blame for inaccurate information or tracks that were omitted because they do not provide the information on their site).
While my main goal was as a handicapping tool, I found a few interesting facts along the way.
For the most part, all the quickest performers were from the last five years or so. Every so often I was treated to a blast from the past. Jet Laag, the gray millionaire, is still the co-record holder at the Delaware County Fairgrounds with a 1:49 mark. Justin Kin, a favorite of mine from the Open Handicap ranks at Yonkers Raceway in the early 1990’s, is still clinging on to his 1:55 clocking (shares record with Capote) that he set at Goshen Historic Track back in 1995.
Of the 33 tracks listed, 8 of the records were set in 2012 and all but one were set or tied in 2005 or later. It is worth noting that the co-fastest horse of all time, Holborn Hanover (2006-Meadowlands), is also the fastest ever at Balmoral Park (1:47 4/5).
From a handicapping standpoint, what can we do with these records?
For the most part, the records serve as a strong bottom line in attempting to calculate how fast each track is under optimal conditions. They can serve as a means for comparison when handicapping shippers. It is not an exact science, but it works.
One of the best parts of these statistics is how simple they are. There is no formula involved and no human error possible.
The fastest track on this list is Meadowlands at 1:46 4/5. Next is Mohawk at 1:47 2/5. In theory this would mean that all things being equal, the Meadowlands is 3/5 of a second faster than Mohawk. And I would say that is fairly accurate, logically speaking.
Looking further down the list, Yonkers at 1:50 2/5 is 3 3/5 seconds slower than Meadowlands, another reasonably accurate assessment. Though I might put the difference at closer to 3 seconds.
There will be anomalies on the list because some tracks do not attract top horses and have not been afforded the opportunity to record a fast mile over the last 10 years. Buffalo Raceway, for example, is probably faster than it’s 1:52 3/5 record, but without any major stakes races, the likelihood of lowering the mark is small. Is Buffalo more than 2 seconds slower than Yonkers? Probably not, but it is close.
So the next time you find yourself wondering how that Indiana Downs shipper will perform at the Meadowlands, you will have a guide to lead you in the right direction.
Track record holders as of 1-11-13
|TRACK||ABRV||TRACK RECORD||HORSE(S) NAME||YEAR|
|Balmoral Park (1 Mile)||BP1||1:47 4/5||Holborn Hanover||2006|
|Batavia||BTV||1:51 1/5||Aracache Hanover||2011|
|Buffalo||BR||1:52 3/5||Steelhead Hanover||2012|
|Cal-Expo (1 Mile)||CX1||1:49 4/5||Eaton Road Kill||2005|
|Delaware||DEL||1:49||Jet Laag / Ponder||1999/2006|
|Flamboro Downs||FLD||1:49 2/5||Somebeachsomewhere||2008|
|Fraser Downs (5/8)||FRD||1:50 4/5||Lil Dude Starbuck||2009|
|Freehold||FHD||1:50 3/5||One More Laugh||2010|
|Georgian Downs (5/8)||GEO||1:49||Bigtime Ball||2009|
|Goshen||GOS||1:55||Justin Kin / Capote||1992/2008|
|Hazel Park (5/8)||HP||1:50 2/5||Armbro David||2012|
|Indiana Downs (1 Mile)||ID1||1:49 1/5||Foiled Again||2012|
|Lebanon||LEB||1:52 3/5||Expensive Flight||2000|
|Maywood||MAY||1:50 2/5||Westward Vision / Glass Pack||2006/2007|
|Meadowlands (1 Mile)||M1||1:46 4/5||Holborn Hanover||2006|
|Mohawk (7/8)||MHK||1:47 2/5||Won The West||2011|
|Northfield||NFD||1:49 4/5||Maltese Artist / Hypnotic Blue Chip||2007/2010|
|Ocean Downs||OD||1:51 1/5||Night Mystery||2006|
|Philadelphia (5/8)||PHL||1:48||Artistic Fella / Mister Big||2008/2009|
|Plainridge (5/8)||PRC||1:49 2/5||Maltese Artist||2005|
|Raceway Park (5/8)||RPK||1:52 3/5||Majestic Osborne||1993|
|Rideau Carleton (5/8)||RDC||1:49 2/5||Lisagain||2011|
|Rosecroft (5/8)||RCR||1:48 2/5||Nuclear Breeze||2007|
|Running Aces (5/8)||ACE||1:51 2/5||Restless Yankee||2012|
|Saratoga||STG||1:51||Rare Jewel / Gimmebackmybullets / Joey The Czar||2006/07/10|
|Tioga (5/8)||TGD||1:48 1/5||Bettor Sweet||2008|
|The Meadows (5/8)||MW||1:47 4/5||Bolt The Duer||2012|
|Vernon Downs (7/8)||VD||1:48 3/5||He's Gorgeous||2012|
|Western Fair||LON||1:50 4/5||Timerama||2008|
|Woodbine (7/8)||WBN||1:47 2/5||Primetime Bobcat||2006|
|Yonkers||YR||1:50 2/5||Sapphire City||2012|
(Tracks without a size are 1/2 mile)
I once saw a pacer win a real (not a fair, or farm) one mile race in 2:52 and change at Green Mt Park in Pownal, VT, which was configured as a 5/8 mile track for harness racing. How about a similar table with the SLOWEST winning mile times at these tracks.
But the Meadowlands track is a one mile 2 turn track as compared to Yonkers which is a half mile track with four turns...
- 1.Posted 06/18/2013 09:59AM
- 2.Posted 06/17/2013 01:04PM
- 3.Posted 06/17/2013 04:52PM
- 4.Posted 06/17/2013 01:00PM
- 5.Posted 06/17/2013 04:02PM