07/30/2011 1:19PM

Seven feet = speed bias?


The turf rails were put up Friday at Del Mar, and longshot front-runners stole a pair. Is more of the same in store this weekend?

The turf rails were down the first seven days of racing, during which time not a single grass race at a mile, or a mile and a sixteenth, was won by the pacesetter. That was 15 races through Thursday, none won wire to wire.

But when the rails were put up Friday (seven feet), the profile changed immediately.

Jet Set Girl made the lead in race 3, slowed down the pace, and was gone at $19.60.

Scorpion Time made the lead in race 6, went fast out front, and was gone at $23.80.

Was it coincidence that the first wire jobs at one mile occurred the first day the turf rails went to a 7-foot setting? Don’t think so.

The Del Mar turf course is sensitive to rail position. Change (up or down) often is accompanied by a change in profile. The first seven days of the meet, closers dominated on turf. Acclamation, at a mile and one-eighth, was the only front-running winner.

Friday with the rails at seven feet, three turf-route winners included two front-runners. Race-1 winner Bauble Queen raced alone in second before reeling in the speed.

What does it mean for the two turf routes Saturday?

Race 2 is a mess. The three speeds are stretch-out sprinters, and none can be trusted.

Race 7, however, is not a mess. The scratch of No Inflation leaves Pleasure to Ride as the lone speed. He is drawn inside, should made the lead, and can be long gone. He is 7-2 on the morning line, and probably going down.

A couple more Saturday thoughts:

Race-3 shipper Hy Hand Poker (12-1) meets a modest cast of older maidens including Cook Inlet and Just Imagine. The shipper might be capable of an upset.

Race-5 front-runner Queen Mariles will appreciate a synthetic surface that has become increasingly fair. Still think Lutess can run her down, but Polytrack this week has not been a deathtrap for inside speed such as Queen Mariles.

Race-8 front-runner Kevlar Kid has a big shot to wire the San Diego Handicap if the track plays the same (fair) as Thursday and Friday.

That’s it. Afternoon racing coverage will be on Twitter.