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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Chart Alternatives

- I see that BRIS is now offering their results charts in two different formats. There are the "traditional" charts, which show the margins between horses, or the so-called "alternative" charts, which show the cumulative beaten lengths. I've actually always considered the "traditional" charts to be somewhat alternative. The beaten lengths lines are what we see in the Form. Still, it's been so long seeing the charts the way they've been, it may take some getting used to, but I think I like this alternative already. If you can deal with PDFs, you can compare the old with the new.

Ever Shifting (Tale of the Cat), the $5.2 million Darley three-year old, ran 9th as the 2.20 to 1 favorite, and looking at the two chart formats, only the "alternative" one gives you the true sense of how bad it was. We've always had to add up all the margins to tell for sure, but now the '16 3/4' is out there for everyone to see.

The winner, Mass Charles (Allan's Prospect) was a mere $9,500 yearling in 2004. He graduated in his tenth try; his 11-1 odds were the highest since his debut. That's two winners in two days for trainer Charlton Baker. He's a high percentage guy up at Finger Lakes, and though he hasn't done too much when during his winter visits here the last few years, who knows, perhaps he will this year.

The effort by Barcola in the feature looks the same on both charts - first by 16 1/2 lengths. For Gary Contessa, it's his tenth winner of the meeting, and it was as easy as it looked; according to the chart, he widened while under wraps in the stretch, a handy winner.

- At Hollywood, on-track handle is up 9%, and an astounding 22% on the live racing, no doubt at least partly due to the increase in field size with turf racing back and Cushion Track all, well, cushion-y. So how can attendance be down? Track president Jack Liebau even has questioned the accuracy of the numbers.

"We can't figure it out....Admission revenues are up over last year." [Daily Racing Form]
Er yeah, I would think that higher admission revenues might just be a fairly good indication that the attendance can't possibly be lower....isn't it?

The faster times on the Cushion Track have been attributed to the cooler weather, and though the Form reports that most trainers are still pleased with the surface, at least one is raising some concerns. John Sadler says he has been surprised by a few instances of bruised feet.
"I'm seeing feet, and I'm seeing little things....I still think the track is good, but they've had some issues with maintenance."

1 Comment:

Jim said...

Alan,

I like the alternative charts, too. Nice to see it! I've always been fond of the beaten lengths page seen on the boards at Saratoga and Keeneland.

Speaking of Keeneland, any new owner of NY racing needs to adopt their Web site strategy. Theirs, and part of Churchill Downs' revision from this year. Race videos are available on the main page, offered in the Flash player (no mess with Windows or Real).

To encourage Web site interest, they should offer someone the opportunity to log on each day of the Belmont and Spa meets for free tickets to the weekend stakes. Get someone to create an account, but you have to visit the page on the Wednesday or Thursday before the weekends.

And what about putting a prime table with free admission on ebay, with proceeds going to charity?

Maybe as a kid you collected baseball cards, why not as a giveaway at the Spa or Belmont, horse trading cards? Pictures of the stakes winners from the previous year. Special packs would have either a free hat, blanket, or a free pair of seats. Grand prize of two seats to the Breeders' Cup. I don't see too many people paying $25+ and way more for those pictures the NYRA photog sells at the booths.