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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Racing Ugly

I was looking at the chart of Monday's 2 mile event at Saratoga with some fellow aficionados when one of them asked "What did they run the first half in?"


Ha!  For a two mile race?  Where did Joel Rosario think he was going on Sumo?   He slowed it down to 51 2/5 for the next quarter, but it was far too late for that.  I mean, Saxophone Len ran the same fraction in a mile and an eighth race earlier on.  And Sumo was a 2-1 shot too; imagine all the money pissed away in all the pools when he quite understandably failed to finish the race.  Meanwhile, Ramon sat patiently on Jacobson's Ea before taking over, and was able to coast home, and actually widen his margin, "running" the final quarter in a time of 28 2/5 that I think would be an insult to a lot of standardbreds if I called it harness horse time.

Of course, this is an extreme example, and we know that today's thoroughbreds aren't bred to go nearly this far.  But if it was on the turf (as I believe it was originally written to be), they probably would have gone 53 to the half and maybe come home in 48'n'3.

Actually saw a good number of dirt races while I was up there, especially but not limited to the rainy weekend just past, in which the leader looked exhausted in the stretch, but he, she or some other horse ran fast enough early to bottom out the rest of the field so that nobody could catch it anyway.   The most egregious example I can recall was the 4th on Sunday (the last of that many off-the-turfers to lead off the card), when Political Justice ran them off their feet with a 47 1/5 half in the nine furlong race, and widened his margin slightly while coming home in 26.97 and a final furlong in 14.16. 

Yuck.  That stuff is pretty ugly to watch.  Especially in the slop, when the horses are often even more strung out (on the track that is) than usual.  There was one day, I think Friday, when there was rain and slop up and down the east coast and beyond.  Man, Arlington and Woodbine sure were looking good those days.  You can call that stuff they run on what you'd like - plastic, crap, garbage; y'know those epithets that people always fall back on and spit out disgustedly when they try, without success in my opinion, to articulate an intelligent case against synthetic tracks.  Don't really know what's in there myself.  But it at least looks like a fast dirt track, and you still have a shot if your horse is 7 behind on the backstretch.  That seemed a mini-revelation at one point after watching all the merry-go-rounds in the slop.

And, speaking of rain, I was sitting last night watching a large mass of it on the weather radar heading towards Saratoga, so I didn't spend much time on today's card.  Now I see it's fast/firm; don't know how they escaped that one.  And too bad; looks like a decent betting day.  But in any event, I'm left for now with the 1st from Del Mar.   Gonna be there in a couple of weeks, so might as well get in practice.   Slammer Time (7-2) comes off a layoff and returns to the grass for a new conditioner in Martin Jones (same owner as before), 12-3-0-2 on the meeting.  This 4yo son of Grand Slam (out of an In Excess half sister to the G1 winner The Wicked North) has run well in his four career grass tries, though to little avail against better in a couple of fast-paced races in his last two attempts on the surface.  Turned in a pretty solid effort last turf try in which he finished well for 3rd after encountering a little traffic late.  First time tag, should appreciate the class relief against a highly flawed field.  This horse has a lot of layoff lines, and apparently had some kind of setback that caused a month interruption in his training regimen from June 17 to July 17.  But he's put together four works since then, and picks up Gomez, who doesn't ride too much for this stable but has won at a 36% clip from 14 tries when he does.  Deadly Catch (4-1) showed speed on this course on opening day, may be one to catch.  Muny (5-2) is a G2 stakes winner as some public handicappers point out; but that was four years ago!  Recent form does not inspire confidence, and he's tired badly in his last two distance tries.  Aqua Fever (3-1) won for 50k here last year; also hasn't shown much this year, but obviously dangerous this level for the live Mullins barn.  Best of luck and have a great day.

1 Comment:

Figless said...

For the record the 2 mile race WAS originally carded on the dirt, they try to run one of these every year, I think in part hoping the steeplechase folks will support it.

But of course despite the Spa spending, and losing, good money on purses for Jump races at the meet only one jump horse in the entire jump universe could be located that was eligible for this condition. Be nice if they could pay NYRA back a little for the support of their sport by entering more of these horses in flat events at the meet.

Works both ways, they scream bloody murder every time the subject of ending Jump races at the meet is broached, but they dont support the everyday product. Even the jump races seem to have fewer entries lately.

They should cap the purses on the overnight jump races at 25k, and the stakes at 75k, and put the saved money into overnight Belmont purses.