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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Add a Pinch 800 Tons of Jelly Cable And Stir

- A night after Todd Schrupp should have been getting the information from Martin Collins and Del Mar executives, Gary Stevens filled him and the TVG viewing audience in on jelly cable, the ingredient missing from the Del Mar Polytrack.

Stevens added that the material is not included at Woodbine. However, as of this week, that's no longer the case. Approximately 800 tons of jelly cable was added to the surface [DRF], with around 200 more to come. (Jen Morrison, on her Thorough-blog, notes that the surface was a bit slower on Wednesday in heavy rain.) Last spring, CEO David Wilmot said:

"What's becoming clear is that jelly cable is critical to holding the surface together during the colder weather, preventing separation and moderating the effects of weather change."
Of course, there is no cold weather at Del Mar during the summer, or at least not like in Canada. But isn't it a concern that Turfway, another troubled Poly surface, lacks the jelly cable too?

And I just want to reinforce here that I'm all for the synthetic surface experiment. However, I'm just relating what is going on, and not all of that is presently good. It's still early in the game, and I think that the problems have to be given time to be worked out.

During the TVG telecast, I saw a two-year old pace from the Meadowlands in which favored Bono Blue Chip was 1-9, despite it being his first career pari-mutuel race! As you may know, harness horses compete in non-betting qualifying races as a warm-up before a debut or a return from a layoff, and sometimes as required by the judges due to excessive breaks. I didn't see the pp lines, but I'm sure he won his 'Q's impressively. Now I can't conceive betting virtually any horse at 1-9. But a two-year old harness horse making his debut? Oh man! So Bono Blue Chip is sitting 5th down the backstretch with John Campbell, and suddenly shows why he was 1-9 with a powerful brush to the lead. Then he showed why you don't bet harness horses at 1-9; he went offstride on the turn. But he only dropped back to second before recovering, promptly regained the lead and turned for home. Man, that's a long stretch for the chalk bettors. He just couldn't quite put the '7' horse away while continuing wide, and then mercifully put his backers out of their misery by breaking again, finishing second and being DQ's out of the money. But I'm sure that all the bettors had fun.