Today in Racing – Nov 1, 2013

Well, the big day is here….the first 275x99_Get_BC_PPsof them anyway.  You can get PPs for each of the Santa Anita cards for just $1.50 by clicking on this box here on the right.  For those of you who have never purchased our past performances, the trial offer will get you those cards, plus every other racecard in North America through the weekend, for just $2.99; click here for that.

Plus, we have up on the blog now our previews of the Distaff, the Classic, and a sneak peek at our live longshot selections.  Those are all teasers designed to get you to get the rest of our race previews and selections (including some illuminating commentary on the foreign horses from our partners at Timeform in the UK), along with unlimited PPs for today and tomorrow, which you can get with the BC Package here.

At Santa Anita yesterday, the Pick Six pool built to over $1.9 million.  After three logical winners in the first three legs, three less logical horses produced a payout of $244,604 to six (according to my unofficial calculation) lucky winners.  Guessing they’ll have enough house money to get them through the Breeders’ Cup.

One disturbing trend however is what appears to be a dominance of early speed on the main track, particularly in the two-turn races.  That prompts a sigh of a possible “here we go again.”  Last year, speed was dominant throughout the two-day BC program.  And that’s coming from a track bias-skeptic who rolls his eyes when he hears people muttering about speed biases after two horses go wire-to-wire.  There was little doubt about it at Santa Anita last year.  A prime example was the pace meltdown candidate we mentioned yesterday.   Racing on the undercard, Private Zone dueled for the lead in a ridiculous half mile of 43.88, yet still took some catching and held on for a close second….in a seven furlong race!  That’s when I knew my handicapping selections based on a fair track were in trouble!  Afterwards, I observed on my blog Left at the Gate that the races were no more meaningful than the BC races run on synth that everybody cried about, because they were on “plastic.”

I dunno, man.  I don’t know myself what makes a track biased or fair, but it sure seems apparent that these dirt tracks get fast and speed-favoring on big race days.  If I owned a track, I would go out of my way to make sure my track gave everybody a chance; and not only for the connections of the horses who have worked so hard to get their charges here, and who expect to have a fair chance.  Besides those of us who have spent the last week or so obsessing over these races with the hope, at least, that the track would be fair, newbies are more likely to fall in love with the game if the races are competitive rather than if the first one out of the gate wins.  If anything, I’d want to tilt the track towards closers, because flying finishes make for more exciting spectacles.  But we have this obsession with speed in this country, which I really don’t get.

So, what can one do about this?  Well, most importantly, observe the early races today to get a feel and draw your own conclusions.  (There are three dirt races on the undercard, one sprint, and two routes.  No.  That’s not enough evidence on their own, but the route races in particular can be observed in context of what’s recently been the case, which is favoring speed.)  Check out our Pace Projectors, which are not designed to tell you who is going to win, but which will surely give you an idea of the early race shape that is so valuable in this situation (if in fact it is the case today and tomorrow).  Check out our twitter feeds – TimeformUS, TimeformUSFigs, and DougieSal – for live updates.  And then, maybe do what I will if the track is obviously unfair – bet the turf races and check out the action at Aqueduct!  (We like Aqueduct…..east-coast bias, as I said.)

In any event, best of luck and have a great Breeders’ Cup day!

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