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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Workouts an Inexact Science

- Highland Cat had his first workout as a gelding on Sunday morning, and Bill Turner got him in 50 and change. That work will not appear on his workout tab, as the clockers missed it. Perhaps they were confused because he was missing some “equipment.” I was also reading Walter’s comments about the discrepancy in a recent workout for Point of Impact, who goes in the first at Santa Anita today, stretching out to a mile after his impressive public workout in his debut.

Having been in the workout clocker’s booth at Belmont, it’s certainly no surprise to me that Highland Cat’s work was missed, nor that Baffert caught his colt in a different time. If you ever have a chance to visit one, you’ll know why, and you’ll look at recorded workout times as a very inexact measure. I write this without any disrespect meant to the clockers (and especially not to Walter’s buddy), but it seems like a near-impossible task. Here’s three or four guys sitting in a booth, with scores of horses with no identification other than the stables’ saddlecloths on the track. They do get tipped off as to who to expect on the track…..if the trainer wants that, I suppose. But with all these horses around, some just jogging, and those not working from the gate galloping up to one pole or another before breaking off somewhere all the way on the other side of the track, I just can’t imagine how they do it.

It seems almost silly that something so seemingly haphazard is now measured in hundredths of a second. It’s as much as a contradiction to me as football, in which a little referee guy has to make an educated guess as to the exact position of the nose of the football at the very exact moment that the ball carrier’s knee hits the field, and then bring out the chains to do a precision measurement to a fraction of a millimeter to determine if he had a first down, thus possibly changing the course of NFL history (and Teaman's wallet) on that single play. But that can be the subject of another blog – The Fundamental Flaws of Football and One Man's Solution.

Bottom line is that if the Form publishes one time, and the trainer says he got another, I would go with the trainer, who was single-mindedly timing his own horse. Also, I look at gaps in recorded works with some skepticism, because I can’t imagine that a trainer couldn’t work his horse without it being recorded if he/she wants it that way. And again, no disrespect to the clockers; in fact, I’m amazed at the job that they do.

- John Ward’s under-the radar three-year old Strong Contender worked a bullet half in (approximately) :47.40 at Gulfstream this morning. But Cindago, an impressive maiden winner over subsequent winners Latent Heat and Point Determined, is off the Derby trail with a hairline fracture in his right knee and will be sidelined 90 days, according to trainer John Sadler…..Sadler said surgery was not required, and he expects a full recovery. [Daily Racing Form]

- Got the following report on our Vicar filly: We watched Christening pull Dominic Giglio, Christening's exercise rider, around the Belmont training track for a mile and a half. Bill told me that he had recently told [our half-partner, who's been looking to sell their share] that he hoped that he planned on keeping this filly cause he really has a good feeling about her ability. As for Highland Cat, Turner feels he can make his return to the races late next month.


t said...

These are the promising comments that make horse ownership worthwhile. I tell you, this kind of hope and "what could be..." is just priceless.

Who is the Vicar filly? 2yo?

Good luck with your stock.

Alan Mann said...

I read where you've been getting good comments on Movement too; best of luck with her! I wonder if every prospective race horse in the world gets those comments, lol! We got them on Highland Cat too.

Christening is a 3 yo; she's small and been slow to develop. She's out of a Belong to Me mare, and I wrote about her pedigree here.

Anonymous said...

Tht first race today at Santa anita was the biggest crock of sh--. It looked like a fix to me. amazing!!