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Monday, February 25, 2008

Gulfstream Timer Goes Wiki

- I Iooked up the list of Fountain of Youth winners on Wikipedia. And first of all, why do I have to go to sites like Wikipedia and You Tube to access statistical or video historical information? I can go to the NHL's site, link to any of the 30 teams, and access each of their all-time rosters, providing detailed statistics, like this. There's nothing comparable I can think of in racing, is there? It would be fun for beginners and vets alike to be able to access the all-time past performances and classic race videos in a single place.

Past FOY winners, at least from during my racing lifetime, include Spectacular Bid, Bet Twice, Sensitive Prince, Copelan, Forty Niner, Proud Truth, Dehere, and Thunder Gulch. But the most recent winners were Scat Daddy, First Samurai, High Fly, Read the Footnotes, Trust N Luck, and Booklet; and not that there aren't some talented racehorses in that bunch, the race certainly hasn't produced the type of horses that it did back then (which wasn't really that long ago). I think that as time goes on, if the current trend of less preps is more continues, we won't be seeing many meaningful confrontations of the top contenders until the final round of preps - the Wood, Blue Grass, Arkansas Derby and, maybe (and Barbaro notwithstanding), the Florida Derby. The earlier races, such as the Fountain of Youth and the upcoming Louisiana Derby, are being used to a large extent as seasonal debuts, and merely as preps for preps.

I certainly could be wrong, but I personally don't see Cool Coal Man as an obvious candidate to break the recent FOY trend, especially given this latest revision of the fractional and final times of the race. Now it seems that the final furlong went in a rather glacial 13.75; which really makes more sense. I didn't get the visual sense that Cool Coal Man was doing much running late. He sat a perfect trip behind an honest pace, made a nice wide move for the lead, but labored home late. This latest version certainly doesn't cast Court Vision in a great light either. Of course, the fractions could change again, so let's wait and see. Maybe we can get the definitive times on Wikipedia.


Anonymous said...

Don't forget Pulpit!

Maybe it's just excuse-making, but it was pretty damn hot on Sunday - tied a record at 89 degrees. Could explain the limping home. Honestly, I half expected a couple of runners to scratch because of it.


steve in nc said...

"...we won't be seeing many meaningful confrontations of the top contenders until the final round of preps."

Am I a crackpot to be pissed at GP's racing secretary for pulling together that paid workout for War Pass? It is true that I have some self-interest -- some years, I make a lot of money betting against Breeders' Cup winners in their next outings.

The fact that Zito didn't put War Pass into the FOY indicates that the colt would have been a good bet-against in a real race. But there was no way even a die-hard contrarian could have bet against War Pass against the group he faced on Sunday.

If Zito felt the colt needed another workout before facing real competition, why shouldn't the racing secretary have forced him to do that in the morning like everyone else? What did GP possibly gain? Did 37 additional people come to the track and buy hot dogs? I hope there was a huge minus pool. Stronach would have to guzzle a quite a few cases of his g-string extract to concoct an explanation of how that paid workout was good for racing.

If I ran the zoo, all allowance and overnight stakes races for 3YO and up would specifically bar all horses that had won GR I races in the last 6 months.

The $36,000 winner's share is chump change for the owners of Breeders' Cup winners. They don't need that kind of charity. Hey LaPenta -- be a mensch and donate that money to the backstrech workers. And Zito, before you again crow about how good the game has been to you, try to be a little better to the game, OK?

Teresa said...

A few years ago at Saratoga, Hold the Tiger (or one of those big cat-named horses who'd won big races) races in an allowance during the week (I think--OK, so I'm fuzzy on these details), and handicapping ahead of time, I looked a friend and said, "What the hell is this friggin' poacher doing in here?" I ended up betting against him and winning, victorious both financially and morally.

Unfortunately, War Pass's race didn't offer the same profitable opportunities, but I felt the same way: get the hell out of the race. I love your idea, Steve, about allowances/overnights and Grade I winners.

Anonymous said...

Just looking back a few years ago to 2004, while Read the Footnotes won the Fountain of Youth [and I thought he was going to win the KY Derby - oh well] - it would be a huge disservice to not cite the late Second of June in the same breath. SOJ whose dam sire was Spectacular Bid was all heart and gave RTF - and the fans one of the best prep races I can still recall.

A race truly worth looking up on for those who haven't seen it or seen it in a while.

Alan Mann said...

Glimmerclass - Duly noted. I guess I overlook such gallant efforts when I'm looking back in a more historical context. Easy to dismiss the names while forgetting the individuals. But that was certainly a great race. And I was actually at the track that day....but had to leave before the race in order to make a dinner date with my late grandfather in west palm beach. Here's the race....yes, on you tube, naturally.

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with Court Vision's race, it is what it is, a prep. A little legging up, a little more experience, nothing more needed at this time.

Not looking to peak yet.

Anonymous said...

i see nothing wrong with war pass running in an alw race.if i had a nice horse and he was coming off a layoff i would want him to run in the easiest race possible.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Alan for posting the link to the FOY in 2004.

Regarding an allowance race as the first race in a 3-yr old's career its worth pointing out Bud Delp did an ungraded race first with Spectacular Bid in 1979. His last race at 2-yrs old was 11/11/78 in the (G2) Heritage.

His course was as follows and of course all victories:

Ungraded Hutcheson Stakes on 2/7; FOY (G3) on 2/19; FL Derby (G1) on 3/6; Flamingo Stakes (G1) on 3/24; and the Blue Grass (G1) on 4/26, then it was off to Churchill for the Derby.

Not that the ungraded Hutcheson back in Bid's day was the same as minor allowance race in 2008. Yet the Delp like Zito wanted his star in the groove before attempting a graded stakes race.

steve in nc said...

If racing secretaries are willing to create races for certain horses, I guess it's hard to blame the connections for taking advantage of that opportunity. And the Hutch is an annual, traditional race. But I thought they created this race just for WP. And I can't understand what the track had to gain by doing so. It probably only cost them handle because it was such a bad betting race.

To me, the lack of a centralized official web page for thoroughbred racing and the failure to force top horses to face each other more often are both symptoms of the same industry disfunction. If one guy owned every track, we might get ripped off more, but the sport might be in better shape -- at least it would act in its own best interest.