RSS Feed for this Blog

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Bias Points

- Here's a couple of interesting points made by Keeneland's track superintendent Mike Young in a column by the Form's Steve Klein (sub. or print ed. only), which I'll take one at a time.

"No, I wouldn't make changes based on one day....I don't think you can judge a track based on one day."
He's talking about biases, and I've often complained here about people who declare track biases after a couple of races, no less an entire day; and that drives me crazy, as you may know.

Steve Davidowitz, in his column on DRF Plus this week, modestly asserts that he coined the phrase 'track bias' 40 years ago, and adds: Biases do not occur as often as most players believe. [again, sub. only, sorry]
* When the first two or three races are won by front-runners, a bias should not be assumed unless there was a strength-sapping speed duel that should have depleted their energy reserves.

* When two or three speed horses gang up on each other and at least two continue to hold off the late speed to the wire, a speed bias might be in play. Likewise, when a front-runner or two wins the first two races on the card, a bias should not be assumed unless the horses were stone-cold quitters. In that case, these weak-hearted horses may well have been carried farther by the track.
And the second point that Young makes, responding to the suggestion that the track may favor closers: "I guarantee that you won't hear as many people complaining about it as you would if it helped the speed."

And that's surely the truth. Speed biases are boring, boring, and more boring, while horses closing from far back help to make the game exciting. If Polytrack results in more of that, it's another reason why it will be good for the game.

5 Comments:

Walter said...

It's hard to express how impressed i was with Henny Hughes today. In deference to Mr. Ed (who posted about Henny on an earlier thread today), yeah, i know he was facing the cream of the 2yo crop last year. First Samurai, Stevie Wonderboy, Too Much Bling, etc. But none of those had near the kind of form that Silver Train was showing in Belmont sprints. You could argue that it's relative, because Henny was just a 2yo back then, and he's obviously improved dramatically this year. But that aside, this was Henny's toughest task to date. Things DID go his way immediately upon leaving the gate, as the rocketship Attilla's Storm cleared the field and Henny was able to assume a perfect stalking position from the outside. But what really floored me was how comfortably Henny was traveling, while Attilla's Storm (who set the pace in last year's BC Sprint) was blazing along at a very fast clip. Silver Train and War Front (very fast horses in their own right) simply couldn't keep up. It was obvious from halfway down the backstretch that Henny Hughes was gonna win this race, and what a well-deserved win it was. He was simply best, and ran a sparkling 1:08 flat as if to emphasize the point. As things stand now, he looks very tough to stop come Breeders Cup Day. I passed on 20/1 immediately following his comeback win @ Monmouth, and boy, does that number look pretty good now. A few people on here liked that number quite a bit when i posted it, so i have to congratulate them and say they were right and i was wrong. He's still has to win the race come November 4th, but i'm sure his connections wouldn't trade places with anybody. Incidentally, i find it highly doubtful that Sheikh Mohammed will enter Discreet Cat in the Sprint, as Henny Hughes happens to be owned by his son, Sheikh Rashid, and i doubt Sheikh Mohammed will be looking to spoil his son's party, particularly after Sheikh Rashid paid such an extraordinary sum for the 2yo Henny Hughes last year. Btw, i agree with Mr. Ed that Taste of Paradise was much the best in the Sprint last year, and would've won with a clean trip. It was still a damn solid effort from Silver Train though, and in regard to that one, WOW, he sure didn't show up today, did he? Nice effort from War Front, and particularly Attilla's Storm off the lengthy layoff, but Henny Hughes just made mincemeat out of them all.

In other Sprint news, i caught Bordonaro's act in the Ancient Title today, and he looked back to his blazing-fast best. I haven't read about the race yet, but the headline on Bloodhorse said "Sprint still on hold", so i'm not sure what that's about. Assuming he shows up healthy, Bordonaro certainly seems like the kind of horse who can give Henny a tough battle. Bordonaro is also known to handle just about any track he runs on, so Churchill shouldn't be an issue. Btw, speaking of "showing up healthy", where the hell was Too Much Bling today? No King's Bishop, no Vosburgh, no Ancient Title? Probably no BC Sprint either, i'm guessing. Something must be amiss with that colt. Latent Heat worked over the Keeneland polytrack today, so i guess he's a go for whatever sprint stakes they're running next weekend. That's good, i was starting to wonder about him. Commentator will reportedly train up to the Sprint. So too will Siren Lure, it seems. I'm guesing Thor's Echo will make an appearance after his nag-up 2nd to Bordonaro today, assuming he's eligible (i haven't looked).

P.S. - Bernardini looked pretty good again, didn't he? What else is new. Same can be said for Lava Man, who just keeps rolling along. That should make for a VERY interesting matchup in the CLassic, assuming Lava Man can handle the Churchill surface (and i have my doubts). Doug O'Neill said after the race that he's gonna ship Lava Man into Churchill a few weeks early, and try to get him accustomed to the surface. Good idea, it certainly can't hurt.

Walter said...

Alomst forgot, a very nice effort from Great Hunter over the Keeneland polytrack today, upsetting Circular Quay at a juicy price of 5/1. No question he was best either, as he ran into a brick wall approaching the trun and had to check, losing his momentum. He swund wide for a re-rally entering the stretch, and mowed them all down. Not sure if it was the polytrack., or if if he just appreciatede the stretchout, or both. But his effort certainly flatters Principle Secret and Horse Greeley, who square off in the big West Coast showdown tomorrow. Btw, Principle Secret has been installed as the 9/5 morning line favorite. Damn. 8^(

Anonymous said...

Henny Hughes ia force. His main competition in the BC Sprint will be High Finance. Anything from Keeneland's Phoenix will not hit the board.

English Channel is the only American hope in the Turf. The Euros will dominate...again.

The Mile? Do the sheikhs have anything for that one? Sned Discreet Cat to that race, because he's only going to face two rivals in the Jerome. Why on earth would anyone run against him on the Aqu dirt?

Is Lukas readying Pegasus Wind for the BC Juvenile?

This year's BC could be the biggest chalkfest in its existence.

Walter said...

The Sheikh has Librettist for the Mile. Incidentally, that one was flattered by Aussie Rules today, winner of the Shadwell Turf Mile @ Keeneland. I guess you could say it flattered George Washington also, if you take the line through Librettist. Aragorn looked real good today, as usual, but i expect he'll have his hands full with those two in the Mile. Gorella isn't exactly out of the picture either.

alan said...

11.92 final eighth for Henny yesterday, wow!