08/19/2007 8:43PM

M.P.H. Madness


The only thing goofier than the results of some of the Grade 1 races being run on not-ready-for-primetime Polytrack these days was ESPN's use of a "miles per hour" Trakus statistic on the leaders during its Sunday telecast of the Pacific Classic and Del Mar Mile Handicap.

For a portion of each race, the odds display disappeared from the chiclets showing the running order, replaced by an ever-changing readout of how fast each horse was supposedly running. What possible interest or purpose was served by showing that horses were (allegedly) changing from travelling 35.4 mph to 38.2 mph and back to 36.8 mph in the course of two strides? It just looked like the work of a demented child playing with a new toy he didn't understand. It would have been far more informative to use Trakus's capability of showing the running order of the entire field, rather than giving completely useless info about the four leaders.

Kudos to commenter Bochall and others who liked Student Council ($48.80) in the Pacific Classic, and to owner Ro Parra, who bought him from Will Farish earlier this month on the advice of Thoro-Graph's Jerry Brown. The 5-year-old by Kingmambo, a disappointment on dirt, grass AND Polytrack in 20 previous starts back east, clearly took to a new kind of California racing where a Grade 1 race at 1 1/4 miles is run in 2:07.29.

In case you were wondering, though you probably weren't, that works out to 35.35 miles per hour.

Mo Baby More than 1 year ago
Thanks for the update about "First Saturday in May." I've seen the trailer on its website and had no idea what its status for release was. I read about it in Sports Illustrated while waiting for my dental appointment and have been obsessed about it ever since. I can hardly wait to see it. Thank you again. BTW: Great pic of the piglets! Way too cute--which one is Wilbur?!
david More than 1 year ago
arc stats has it right. the tracks aren't the problem - medications and year round racing are. weren't the same tracks safe 20 years ago ? artifical surfaces are the end of racing as they make the sport un-hadicapable. look at the GRADE 2 pat o'brien at 7 F. opening quarter in 24 - in a grade 2 going 7F- and the leader- a grade 1 winner - finishes last. new york should keep its surfaces because every decent horse who can't handle poly-synthetic will soon be here leading to overflow fields
David More than 1 year ago
Honestly why care about final times of races? The entire concept of speed figures is to assist handicappers in making an adjustment for variances in track condition that affect final time so that the "85" run at Saratoga is equivalent to the "85" run at Delaware. When horses set "world records" on sun baked tracks at places like Turf Paradise, we typically don't get overly impressed. So when Student Council runs a slow time winning a Grade I at DM on the Poly, we get upset about that?? When it rains, we adjust our handicapping techniques for sloppy/muddy/soft conditions. Poly gives us one more variable to deal with. Given that we are in a transition period and horses are running on three surfaces, we need to add that variable into consideration. I am sure that there is a very quiet and happy group of handicappers out there who have figured out the Poly biases and are making some smart and profitable wagers.
C.Rich More than 1 year ago
I watched the first couple of days and refused to wager on Del Mar. For those "safety" fanatics, why don't we just build large pools and put life preservers on the horses and have them swim around an oval. Unless, they die of a heart attack, the horses should not get hurt and can perform forever. The form can list water temperature instead of track condition. Might not even need jockeys anymore. It will be like the racing pigs at the county fair.
Bob in Tampa More than 1 year ago
Every good money manager knows that you can't dance every dance and expect to come anywhere near a profit. Why not treat synthetic surfaces as test races (for betting purposes) and focus on races run on the turf. It is better racing, is still natural, there are only a few every day at any dual-surface venue. That will be my plan when synthetic surfaces become more prevalent or until they perfect the care and feeding of them. Pretty good card at Sar this Wednesday. Bob Tampa
chris More than 1 year ago
Kudo's to Neil Howard for his job training the Pacific Classic winner. It's a shame he won't be the named trainer for this one. It's not the polytrack that moved him up as much as the drop in class to CA "stakes" horses. It's a weak bunch of handicap horses out there, and has been for a while, and that was a good move by the new owners to pick that horse up.
cj More than 1 year ago
Words can't describe how bad the racing on the polytrack is. While I certainly favor improving safety for the horses, there has to be a better way than this crap.
Green Mtn Punter More than 1 year ago
2:07 and change is just ridiculous for Grade I tigers at a mile and a quarter. I think Polytrack has sealed it's own fate- perhaps Cushion Track stands a chance as the synthetic track of the future but it surely isn't going to be Polytrack. Chalk that one up as a serious blunder for Del Mar- NY should not spend a dime on synthetic surfaces unless and until Cushion Track proves out over several seasons. First thing Del Mar needs to do is scrap Polytrack and go to Cushion Track a la Hollywood Park. Let's just hope the legislative geniuses in Albany don't attach some synthetic surface requirement to the new franchisee, you know, to show their forward thinking about the NY racing industry!
Screwball More than 1 year ago
Let's face it, Lava Man wanted no part of 10F on a tiring Polytrack surface. The rest of the older CA routers are Listed or Grade 3 caliber horses at best. Kudos to Jerry Brown and Parra for taking a stab with a sharp classified allowance horse that showed some fondness for Poly elsewhere. They got a Grade 1 win out of non-entity that will finish in another zip code in the Breeder's Cup.
Floppydog More than 1 year ago
It's mostly about styles. Imagine what Borrego would've done to that field. Or better yet...Delta Sea. For the future of NYRA's track surfaces, Flop suggests Tempur-Pedic ©