RSS Feed for this Blog

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Slow Wednesday

- Edgar Prados and Garrett Gomez(es) of the world beware. Larry Jones says of jockey Gabriel Saez: "If Gabriel can ever get heads up with you, you just don't beat him." [Albany Times Union] This rider has had a tough year, getting beat up with criticism by some idiot animal activists after Eight Belles broke down, and for his ride on Proud Spell in the Mother Goose.

Jones was talking specifically about Kodiak Kowboy's hard earned win over Desert Key in the Amsterdam. And Saez will naturally be back aboard Proud Spell in the Alabama, when she's expected to take on Music Note, of whom Jones said:

“Music Note ran a huge race the other day. Looks to me like she’s setting up for a bounce, we’ve got to play that factor. And if she does, we sure would hate for her to bounce, and us not be there.” [Schenectady Gazette]
Music Note earned a Beyer of 100 for her overpowering win in the CCA Oaks. I read, don't remember exactly where, that she should run in the Travers. Tsk, tsk, hasn't anyone learned anything from Eight Belles about running fillies against males? (that's a joke) Though I think I'd like to see her a) win around two turns, and b) prove she's better than Proud Spell first. (no joke)

- The combined attendance at Del Mar and Saratoga on Monday, under good weather conditions, was 18,326. The crowd of 7,631 at Del Mar was the smallest in five years.

If you think you have the Poly at Del Mar down pat this year, things could be different come the races today. The track conducts maintenance on the surface on dark Tuesdays, and last Wednesday produced noticeably slower times.
Last week, the surface was power-harrowed, to loosen the material, and roto-tilled, to remix the components of the Polytrack, according to Pendergest. This week, the track will be only power-harrowed, he said on Saturday.
"I think it will be quicker on Wednesday than it was" last week, he said. "We learned a couple of things with what we did on Tuesday. It will be a notch slower on Wednesday than the rest of the week." [DRF]
Note that the track will be roto-tilled every three weeks; don't really know what that means to be honest, other than it apparently slows the track down. Jeff Nahill, doing a nice job covering the meet for the local North County Times, questions why we first learned of this work after the fact.
Del Mar's management had an obligation to inform bettors last week that the Polytrack had been dug up on Tuesday's off day, but it didn't do so. When large bettors find out about such things, it only makes them question why they bet a track that isn't forthcoming.[North County Times]


Anonymous said...

Another example of a 'Win and you're in' victor who might not have otherwise slipped into the BC. Yesterday everyone was expecting Big Booster to snag the Cougar II Handicap at Del Mar.

However waiting at the back of the pack and never making a move until entering the stretch was not the best plan when everyone let Zappa already build a big lead and the pace non-existant.

That was a great run (mixed with luck) that earned Zappa, the 6-yr old gelding, a gate in the BC Marathon.

Final time 2:30.30 on the faster Del Mar synthetic. Evening Attire did the same 1 1/2 distance in the Greenwood in 2:29.90

Anonymous said...

Hi Alan - would you happen to know what Saratoga's attendance was for the first Monady last year ? Thanks.

Bob from NJ

Alan Mann said...

Bob - I looked back in my archives to see if I'd noted it here, but whaddya know, I was at Del Mar! Wish I was there again!

Alan Mann said...

OK Bob, here it is, from last year's Saratogian:

Monday brought 12,224 people, a bit over last year's opening Monday crowd of 12,054.

Anonymous said...

Rototilling the artifical surface at Del Mar you say? Huh? You can't make this stuff up, can you? Why should NY tracks give one smidgen of consideration to installing artificial surfaces? If NY holds out for dirt I think NY will prevail in any competition for top Grade I stock. You'll have a two tier championship: The NY champion, who will be recognized as The Champ, and a SoCal champ who will be recognized as an artificial surface champ, Breeders Cup or no Breeders Cup. That's competition, that's business.

Synthethic surfaces remind me of the boondoggle that was artifical turf on athletic fields. Took years to perfect the stuff after dealing with the unintended, unintended consequences, i.e., more injuries created than it prevented. Most baseball and football fields went back to natural turf, didn't they? Why should NYRA tracks lower the bar just because SoCal tracks were forced to?

It seems to me that racing would be better advised to pursue improved dirt tracks with properly engineered base layers to insure that drainage is swift and complete following rain storms. I think going to synthetic surfaces in NY would be a big and costly mistake when there is a better alternative that preserves natural surfaces. /S/Green Mtn Punter

ljk said...

I agree with GM Punter. Nobody has invested the $$$ and effort to create a "perfect" foundation for a dirt track which is always step one for a synthetic.

I'm beginning to believe that the best will skip the 2008 Synth at the BC (which makes me wonder about my investment in tix, airfare, and hotel expenses).

Wondering about attendance and handle at the Spa? How about tommorrow's undercard for race quality? And again, don't forget about attracting fans to week 3...