04/22/2008 2:22PM

Poly Prep II


Maybe it's moot, at least for Derby purposes, to spend much time examining last Saturday's Lexington Stakes. On today's weekly NTRA Derby teleconference, trainer Todd Pletcher sounded as if he's leaning more toward running 1-2 Blue Grass finishers Monba and Cowboy Cal rather than Lexington winner Behindatthebar. The Lexington, however, came up a faster race than the Blue Grass on paper, perhaps because of a much quicker than usual pace over Keeneland's Polytrack.

The Lexington was one of three races on the card for 3-year-olds at a mile and a sixteenth. The other two were open maiden-special-weight races that were run over two full seconds slower after going about three full seconds slower in the early going:

Race 1(MdSpWt): 24.36...48.06...1:12.50...1:37.91...1:44.27
Race 5(MdSpWt): 24.04...48.26...1:12.55...1:37.89...1:44.13
Race 9(Gr2 Stks): 22.78...45.21...1:09.48...1:35.47...1:42.14

Those final times earned the maiden races Beyer Speed Figures of 79 and 80 and the Lexington a 99, a better BSF than was recorded by the winners of the Santa Anita Derby (95), Wood Memorial (93) or Blue Grass (92). Obviously, Behindatthebar benefitted from Samba Rooster's fast fractions in front of him and to some degree the race fell apart late, with the final five-sixteenths actually slower than in the two maiden races. Still, it was refreshing to see a Polytrack Derby prep run with an honest pace and a more traditional race shape.

The one hesitation about awarding a relatively strong figure to the Lexington is that most of the top finishers end up being credited with significant career-topping performances. That's always a possibility with blossoming 3-year-olds in the spring but still gives one pause.

---The NTRA today officially launched its Horseplayers' Coalition, which it envisions as the grass-roots arm of its lobbying efforts to reform the tax code on parimutuel proceeds. Players can sign up for an annual fee of $25, which gets you legislative alerts as well as some discounts with vendors including UPS and Office Depot via the NTRA's purchasing program.

---Southland Greyhound Park in West Memphis, Ark. is launching a new wager Saturday that may qualify as the toughest on the parimutuel landscape: a twin-superfecta, where a winning superfecta in leg 1 gets you a single exchange ticket to try to hit another super in leg 2. Just to make it even harder, Southland is going from the standard eight-dog to nine-dog fields. At least the base bet is only a dime. The bet will not be capped or paid out until hit exactly.

steven_crist More than 1 year ago
seeking_the_gold, Whether or not it was a good dq, what's the integrity issue? The stewards have no self interest in whether or not there's a pick-six carryover and there's no basis to impugn the character of people like John Veitch, the state steward. Maybe they made a bad call, but there's nothing sinister about it.
Floppydog More than 1 year ago
http://www.drf.com/drfNewsArticle.do?NID=93987 AMAZING Rivals the televised yellow first down line for greatest sports innovation.
grasslover More than 1 year ago
Hey Steve, or anyone else who wants to answer-- i saw the first race of the new Hollywood Park meet and witnessed a track record set by a horse who was later DQ'ed. Someone at the track said that the track record would stand anyway. The next time my first place finisher gets taken down, can i still get my expected win payoff? Just wondering--how can a record stand by a horse who was DQ'ed?
Seeking the Gold More than 1 year ago
Steve, U see the dq of the mcloughlin horse at keeneland. arguably the worst ever. This is an incredible integrity issue as the stewards try to create a pick six carryover. ridiculous. u wonder why this sport can't keep fans. unreal.
Dana O More than 1 year ago
I am desperate to find out about the Thoroughbred Horseman's Group that is representing the horsemen and their fight for more money form ADW's Who are they and how do I join? Do they have a website? This is big time news and none of the HBPA websites have any info.
Hungarian Gent More than 1 year ago
Any thoughts on Monster payout on AQU Wed? Only one real price in the bunch. Seems like single CO's are often paying better in NY than the $200K+ miltiple CO pools. Less big budget players involved for single carryovers?
Lonny Keller More than 1 year ago
So let me get this straight: The purists who are complaining about Keeneland, miss the old days,when it was perhaps the most inside speed biased track known to mankind? How about comparing the last Golden Gate Fields meet to the one currently being run at Bay Meadows on the dirt? Sorry purists,There's alot of positives to synthetic surfaces!!.
tony More than 1 year ago
minj thats the whole point NO ONE HAS ANY IDEA how this polycrap plays . i for one am sick of it and won't spend much more on what used to be one of my Favorite meets . Its such a shame they rushed into this with no research .
Nick Briglia More than 1 year ago
If the Lexington or the Blue Grass were run on turf would we care how fast or slow they ran? It's the same thing with synthetic. IT IS A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT COURSE. IT IS NOT DIRT. Say that 5000 times, maybe it will sink in. We can't compare the two. It's apples and oranges. One thing that seems to be true, synthetics "leg up" horses the way turf does so that might help in that first dirt race after running on synthetics. But otherwise, all this speed figure talk is just stupid. The Blue Grass isn't the Blue Grass anymore. It's an entirely different race now. Same with the Lexington. Just one more fun bit of confusion for us to dive into before the hardest race to figure in all of racing. Good luck.
Bearcatbob More than 1 year ago
As George Quinn noted with the DRF headlines and with all the complaining horse players do, and almost all of it is legit, I hope everyone is willing to give at least $25 to the horseplayers coalitiion. We fianlly have a group that has a chance to speak up and make change for us. It may not work, but its the most hope we have had. I hope the tax law changes are a top priority, espcecially allowing above the line deductions of losses as opposed to itemized deductions. As someoone who doesnt itemize, this rule kills me each tax season.