11/01/2007 10:40AM

Q&A 11/1/07


Back to work: Post-Breeders' Cup shore leave has been cancelled, due to the three-day, $243, 011 pick-six carryover at Aqueduct. It's 62 degrees and partly cloudy in beautiful downtown Ozone Park, N.Y, the main track is fast and the turf is labelled "good" -- Wednesday's three grass races, all at a mile (hooray! no more turf sprints until May!), were run in 1:38.89, 1:39.06 and 1:39.09.

You better get going if you haven't gotten started. The challenging lineup card:

Race 4(2:25 p.m. EST): 3+F, MdSptWt, 1 1/16-T
Race 5: 3+, Clm 16000, Nw1 since 5/1/07, 6f
Race 6: 2M, Md35000, 1m
Race 7: 3+F Clm35000 N3L, 1m-T
Race 8: 3+, N2x, 6f
Race 9: 3+M, Md45000, 1m-T

--While we're waiting for late scratches, let's get to some of your questions from the last few days:

dan_baedeker says: Could you post your comparative Beyer figures fot the intial three BC races run on Friday? It would be interesting to see Corinthian's very impressive performance in that perspective.

Here you go (and here without frames):

The same themes emerge from this comparison as from Day 2: Roughly a quarter of the runners equalled or exceeded their last-out Beyer (7 of 27 here, 20 of 77 in the Day 2 survey), and the falloffs were precipitous among the many who appeared simply unable to handle the footing.

Jessica Chapel, DRF's webmaster, has helpfully compiled and posted a similar comparison for the 2005 and 2006 Breeders' Cups over at her Railbird blog. The overall percentages of horses going forward or backwards off their previous race are not dissimilar to this year's, an interesting finding suggesting that the crucible of top-class competition in the main events as opposed to the preps may take its toll regardless of the footing. What you don't see in those prior years are the huge gaps in the fields and the number of massive dropoffs from previous starts.

yuwipi says: With the Breeders Cup fresh in mind I was wondering if you have any thoughts regarding the sometimes floated idea of splitting the races between more than one site?...With the expansion to 11 races and spill over to two days, and with more races promised in the near future, do you think we could be at a point where 12 or 13 BC races might be split between two tracks? I can understand BC reluctance to mess with a good thing, but can see some definite positive angles to it also. Any thoughts or rumors?

I haven't heard any whispers to that effect and don't really expect to. Running the two days at different venues would cause significant travel and logistics problems for the participants, increase costs for television coverage that is not exactly rolling around in advertising revenue, and diminish the attractiveness of a BC trip for customers.

mikethedog says: As far as BC's go, this year was rather unexciting with no truly huge payoffs except for P6. Usually we'll get some much larger payoffs in Supers and P4's. This year's payoffs were light compard to past years. Maybe bettors getting more sophisticated?

I think field size and the lack of any winners at higher than 11-1 had more to do with the lower payoffs than either mass enlightenment or, as others have suggested, lower bet minimums. In a 14-horse field, there are 24,024 possible superfecta results; in a 10-horse field, only 5,040. In 2006, the last four races had fields of 14,14,11 and 13. This year it was 13,12, 8 and 9. I'm still sorting through the pool totals and will be posting an analysis of the BC Day betting in the next couple of days.

van_cushny says: Not so fast on your claim that "not a single debate to be had over which horses deserve to win Eclipse Awards this year,"; if neither McDynamo nor Good Night Shirt win the Colonial Cup on November 18th, the Steeplechase Eclipse voting will be a wide-open affair.

Excellent point. And Van, please share your thoughts here on who should get the steeplechase Eclipse after the Colonial Cup is run. I'd appreciate the guidance as would many voters, who might as well be handicapping a harness race when they look at the Eclipse steeplechase pp's to fill out their ballots.

todd_r says: What about Corinthian for Champion Older Male? He was 4 for 7 this year, has a split with Lawyer Ron in head-to-head match-ups, went out a winner and both his efforts at 1 mile were remarkable...or am I just off my rocker?

Interesting point, but I think Lawyer Run will still get it in a landslide under the formula Whitney+Woodward+close-second-to-Curlin-in-JCGC > Met Mile+BC Dirt Mile. Also, some voters will feel reluctant to reward a horse who is at least perceived as having ducked the Classic for a softer spot in the Dirt Mile. I think Lawyer Ron and Corinthian will be two of the three finalists for the Older Male Eclipse, along with either Invasor or Midnight Lute.

brian says: Do you think George Washington's connections are to blame for what happened to him in the Classic? While there was no way of knowing that he would break down (as far as we know), it just seems to me that GW had no business being in that race.

I understand people's grief and their desire to assign blame for George Washington's breakdown, but blaming the owners is over the top. I didn't think GW had a prayer of beating all these good dirt horses, but it wasn't unreasonable to try him again off a seven-length defeat to Invasor and Bernardini in last year's Classic. From all accounts, GW was a beloved stable pet and I have no doubt those closest to him are devastated by the loss.

--Late scratches for Aqueduct are in:

Race 4:
1A Hit the Point
9 Golden Oasis
10 Madeline's Music
11 She Belongs to Us

Race 5:
2 Act of Contrition
9 Voryias

Race 6:
2B Yacout (ARG)

Race 7:
6 Keen Spirit
10 Fairytale Story
12 Zip by You
13 Mpenzi (GB)

Race 8:
1A I Ain't No Saint
5 Karakorum Tuxedo

Race 9:
12 Sir Cryptomite

Get to work.

[Update 2:45 pm: Never good when you're not crazy about the 2-1 winner of the first leg. Three of six tickets survived, and I now have to get singles home in two of the last three races: Bribon must win the 8th, and I also need either the Survived-Fort Carillon entry in the 7th and/or Turkish Victory in the finale. For root-alongs or root-againsts:

1247/3458/23568/1/3/3 ($160)
1247/3458/236/2479/3/3 ($384)
1247/3458/236/1/3/10,13 ($288)
12/3458/58/2479/3/3 ($128)
12/3458/58/1/3/10,13 ($64)
12/3458/236/1/2467/3 ($192)