08/01/2010 11:26PM

Were they good or were they lucky?


The racing surface returned to normal Sunday. Darn.

A few horseplayers were looking forward to a second straight day of rally-wide bias.

Instead, speed was good Sunday. Lone speed was dynamite.

That creates a problem interpreting two big races – a maiden race for 2-year-old fillies, and the Grade 1 Bing Crosby for older sprinters.

Avid is headed to the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante after a solid debut in race 1. Is she good enough? It is hard to tell.

Avid popped the gate, made an easy lead, and cruised. She won geared down by two and one-quarter lengths in 1:10.82. She earned a 77 Beyer Figure.

It was a decent race, and that is all. She had no pressure on a slow (45.76 seconds) half-mile. Avid delivered under ideal conditions. You can’t knock her, can’t love her.

Same dilemma applies to Smiling Tiger, upset winner of the Grade 1 Bing Crosby.

Smiling Tiger is a 3-year-old. His trainer Jeff Bonde preferred not tackling older. Not yet.

Bonde kept thinking about his veteran gelding Mr. Doubledown, a 14-for-30 sprinter that earned $738,692.

“I got him beat as a 3-year-old against older horses,” Bonde said. That was only the third career start for Mr. Doubledown, who later won nine stakes up and down the West Coast.

As for Smiling Tiger, his summer setbacks forced Bonde to try older in the Bing Crosby. He would face front-runner Cost of Freedom, the top sprinter in California.

But when the gates opened, Cost of Freedom went straight in the air. Cost of Freedom broke last. “It cost me the race,” jockey Rafael Bejarano said.

The slow start by Cost of Freedom allowed Smiling Tiger an easy lead. He walked the opening quarter in 22.41 seconds.

Smiling Tiger hit the jets on the turn. On a surface where 23-second turn times are ordinary, Smiling Tiger smoked in 22.21 seconds, fastest turn time of the meet.

Smiling Tiger’s final time of 1:09.21 earned a 103 Beyer.

Would Smiling Tiger have run as well going head-and-head with Cost of Freedom? Who knows?

You can’t knock Smiling Tiger, can’t love him either. Is he Breeders’ Cup material?

The question will remain unanswered, for now.

BSB More than 1 year ago
There never is gonna be a big daily bias . The bias changes with the tide at Del Mar, which means it constantly changing throughout each day. That's why Del Mar is just a good place to toss out a few bucks and enjoy the beach.
Plod Boy Jake More than 1 year ago
Here are the www.racingflow.com quantified Del Mar BIAS figures for last week: Sun 08/01/10 = 4 (no bias) Sat 07/31/10 = 215 (extreme closer bias) Fri 07/30/10 = -126 (modest speed bias) Thu 07/29/10 = -18 (no bias) Wed 07/28/10 = -65 (no bias)
Siphon More than 1 year ago
Cant wait to bet against "tiger" next race. This changing bias is great! ... We will c how (the surface) is tomorrow. I think would stick with Caitie's Secret from Friday next out. She might even go off at a bet table price next time.
SkepticalDave More than 1 year ago
I agree Smiling Tiger doesn't hit the board in the Bing if Cost of Freedom doesn't hop in the air at the start. And perhaps Scenic Blast cleans up the whole thing if there's an honest pace on the front end. So why did the bias change? Was it simply whether the sun shines or not? Why is this? Is California racing going to starting reporting the moisture content of the track for each race? I hope Del Mar is simply "fair" for Friday. I'm drooling at the prospect of watching Izshelegal fly past Dawnie Macho, AZ Warrior, and Final Mesa all in the stretch of the Sorrento Stakes. Or was the track biased in her favor in her last start? So many variables. Don't you love it?!
blackseabass More than 1 year ago
As a west coast guy that understands that the fastest sprinters in the world generally reside in California I say sure he's BC material, but if Big Drama stays right they'll all be running for 2nd.