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Friday, October 06, 2006

Bombshell Beauty

- Bel Air Beauty won the Grade 2 Darley Alcibiades at 47-1 at Keeneland. Thus, a bombshell takes the first big graded stakes over the Polytrack surface. And since she and third place finisher Her Majesty were the only two that had raced on an artificial surface, does that mean that the race should be discounted as a legitimate prep for the BC Juvenile Fillies?

Maybe. But maybe not. The fact is that these were also the only two fillies that had raced around two turns. They had both raced once before, in one mile maiden specials at Turfway. They each earned Beyers of only 60 there, and only Her Majesty had won. The latter was bet down to 7-1, on the old "won on Polytrack" angle...and perhaps also because her trainer Patrick Biancone had already had two winners on the day.

Appealing Zophie, the Spinaway winner and the 7-2 second choice, seemed to be enjoying herself on the Polytrack down the backstretch, but couldn't handle the extra distance. Or, maybe she didn't actually didn't like the track? This is a handicapping puzzle that we're going to be facing a lot over the next few years. And for all the talk that it will eliminate the track bias angle (which Steve Davidowitz disputes on DRF Plus this week...more on that at some point), they'll be new betting angles aplenty as new patterns related to the artifical tracks emerge. Polytrack-to-dirt, Polytrack-to-turf, Turfway Polytrack-to-Woodbine Polytrack, second-time Polytrack, Cushion Track-to-Polytrack-to-turf-to-dirt...

It actually looked like form was going to hold up when favored Untouched Talent came along to get the lead, but she couldn't hold off the Polytrack specialist....or maybe the two-turn specialist Bel Air Beauty.

The winner, a $210,000 yearling, is another stakes winner by Smart Strike, his tenth of the year, and his 4th graded or group winner. And as we've mentioned previously, he's 9% stakes winners from foals, and seems like good value at $50,000. His 46 yearlings that have sold this year averaged around $115,000.

Bel Air Beauty is out of a stakes-placed mare by Boundary (Danzig), and this is the family of the fine racemare Grecian Flight, who took the 1987 Acorn, and I'd look back to see who the trainer and rider was, but NYRA still doesn't have the Stakes History feature up on its new site. (But it was Joe Pierce who trained her.)

- I suppose it won't be too long until all past performances come with breakouts for Polytrack and other artificial surfaces just as they do for turf. But it's BRIS which seems to have gotten the jump; I got an email this week that said: Effective this week has introduced All-weather race records for individual horses in the past performances.