- Marty McGee reports in the Form that the Trakus technology allows Keeneland to post an actual statistical measure of how much ground a horse lost, or gained in a race.
The ontrack displays show the number of feet a winner traveled, while the distances that also-rans completed are displayed as a differential versus the winner. For example, in the first race Wednesday, the winner, Pure Classy, took 5,682.6 feet to run the 1 1/16-mile race, while the runner-up, Trio, took 5,710.1, or an extra 27.5 feet in running the same race - so the distance for Trio was displayed as a "plus 27." Conversely, several other also-rans traveled a lesser distance than Pure Classy, and so those were displayed as a "minus."You can go to Keeneland's website and see the actual distances traveled by each horse here.
But aren't there some things that are better left to subjective interpretation? We've discussed here how it's cool that people can look at the same race and see different things. That's what creates the differences of opinion that make betting on the game so fascinating. Is it really in the sport's interest to boil everything down to a strictly quantatative analysis? What's next? A precise measurement, in feet, of how much ground a horse had to cover while being blocked in traffic? Breezefigs for each horse's gallop-out? A measurement, in milligrams, of the amount of each horse's pre-race kidney sweat? A numerical rating, based on body language, of the trainers' intentions?
These things are open to interpretation, and why not keep them that way? I've always thought that I have a good sense of how significantly wide a horse is in a race. I might mentally adjust the Beyer up or down, but I don't have any precise formula. It's a lot of guesswork, but so what? It's a game. If there's nothing to guess about, then it becomes a science. And I don't remember having much fun in biology class.
- You may say "Hey, isn't this the same guy who criticized people who are upset about Polytrack possibly taking speed bias out of the game?" The difference is that Trakus, which I must admit I've never really cared for from the start, doesn't keep horses healthy, and thus far (as I not only knock wood, but pound my fists on my wood floors) there have been no fatalities reported at Keeneland. According to Kentucky Horse Racing Authority statistics, fatal breakdowns had occurred at a rate of slightly more than three per meet since spring 2003. [DRF]
- Bandini is retired and will stand for $17,500 at Walmac.
- Patrick Biancone has eight winners out of 26 starters at the Keeneland meeting. He's won with his last three starters, and the one before that was Maurakalana, second in the the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth. His winners include Asi Siempre and the magnificent Gorella. And all of his winners, and the great majority of all his runners have been ridden by Julien Leparoux.
On Wednesday, they took the third with first-timer Belgravia. This Mr. Greeley two-year old sold for $2 million at the Calder sale in February, after working a furlong in 10.2; quick, but not a standout amongst the others on the day. He's out of Peaks Mill, a stakes-winning Stalwart mare, and this is the distaff family of Afleet Alex. His second dam, Dorothy Gaylord, is the third dam of the 2005 three-year old champ.
Nick Zito was second to the 6-5 favorite with Silver Express. After his uncanny and uncharacteristic spate of first-time two-year old winners at Saratoga, Zito has come down to earth and is winless with his last nine debut juveniles.
- I've really come to appreciate the Mets' Paul LoDuca as a hitter since starting to follow the local baseball season more closely late in the season (as in, after Saratoga). The guy is a pure hitter, and a clutch one at that. His two-out, two-run single in the 8th gave the Mets enough of a cushion to survive a pair given up in the ninth by Billy Wagner, who sucks. If the Mets don't win the World Series, I predict that it will be because of a failure by Wagner. And I don't give them better than a 50/50 chance.
But they're still alive in this most improbable of series. Each time it seemed obvious that one team or another would take command, the opposite happened. The Cards looked impotent after Game 1, but salvaged the crucial split on the road. The Mets were dead after Trachsel imploded in Game 3, but their bats exploded in Game 4. They seemed poised to take control with Glavine on the mound in Game 5, but the game turned around suddenly and shockingly. And who would have thought they'd survive a second round against Chris Carpenter to make it to the deciding game. Who cares if they don't really have a pitcher to start the seventh game? It says here that the game, and the series, will come down to the pitcher that tries to end it.