The Jim Hurley Racing Network
UNDER THE SHEDROW NEWSLETTER
Tuesday, July 17
DEL MAR ROLLS OUT THE POLYTRACK AS 68TH SEASON STARTS WEDNESDAY, PLUS CLOSING WEEK AT BELMONT, ARLINGTON TURF STAKES AND LOUISIANA CHAMPIONS DAY HIGHLIGHT GREAT WEEK!
This Wednesday, July 18, Del Mar will open the gates for the 68th time and begin a 43 day race meet that commences on Wednesday, September 5.
To get a true idea of what a step up in both class and talent this meet represents you need only go to the very first race of the day. The Oceanside Stakes, a mile race on the turf for non-winners of a $50,000 Sweepstakes in 2007 is to be run for a purse of $75,000 and will see horses trained by Joe Orseno, Jerry Hollendorfer, Ron McAnally, Craig Dollase, John Sadler and Vladimir Cerin among others. Horses in the race will be ridden by Alex Solis, Corey Nakatani, Victor Espinoza, Mike Smith, Richard Migliore, Michael Baze, David Flores and others. And that is just the first leg of a race that has been split into three separate divisions on the day. If that degree of excellence, in the very first race of the meet, doesn't give you an idea of what Del Mar is all about then you might want to stop reading.
In this issue of UNDER THE SHEDROW I'll take a brief look at the prospects for another successful Del Mar meet, which of course will be run for the first time over the brand new Polytrack surface. I'll also have a great offer for the opening two days that features a longshot, trifecta, pick three blow-out each day.
Also in the current Issue are some thoughts on Belmont's closing week as well as a look ahead to the three key graded turf stakes at Arlington on Saturday as well as Louisiana Champions Day at Louisiana Downs, which also takes place this Saturday.
(Del Mar Opens 68th Meet – Polytrack Challenges Await Horses, Trainers, Jockeys And Bettors.)
The quality of racing doesn't change. When it comes to Del Mar the very best west coast horses, trainers and jockeys compete each day for upwards of $600,000 in purses as the track handles $13 million on a daily basis. All of those top shelf ingredients will once again be available as the 2007 meet gets under way on Wednesday (7/18). What might change, however, is how those top shelf ingredients are mixed as the main track has been converted to Polytrack.
The state of California has mandated that all their tracks be converted to the "safer" synthetic surfaces that have already cut down on equine injuries and breakdowns in Canada (Woodbine), Kentucky (Turfway Park and Keeneland) and Illinois (Arlington Park). Hollywood Park, which opened their just concluded meet with their brand new Cushion Track variation of the synthetic footing had to be considered a success based on the lower number of injuries from last year's corresponding meet.
From a safety-for-the-horses standpoint the new surfaces are unquestionably a welcome change. How the surfaces will change the betting patterns of the people that support the game and how quickly the best handicappers can adjust to the nuances of the new artificial surfaces vs the standard dirt tracks that are still in place remains to be seen.
One thing is for sure, any assumptions that a horse will automatically transfer his or her form from one surface to the other, should be ignored completely. And even though a number of the horses about to run at Del Mar have already created an "artificial surface" resume over Hollywood's synthetic main track, it is worth noting that Hollywood's version is Cushion Track, and the make up of the ingredients for that surface are different from those of the newly installed Polytrack at Del Mar. There is a very real possibility that for some horses the difference between the two synthetic surfaces could be as different to a horse's liking as synthetic track surfaces are from conventional dirt surfaces.
This is a rather wordy way of saying that as a bettor, you should make sure you keep track of everything that goes on over the new Del Mar surface, and compare its subtleties and nuances to the performances at Hollywood and Santa Anita (conventional dirt) as well as the other dirt tracks that the horses may have run over most recently.
Put that way, it almost sounds as though you should probably keep your money in your pocket for a week or two. If you have no knowledge of pace, running styles, how a horse's par numbers on "another" track measure up to those of his or her opponents, and how they comparatively transfer to Polytrack in a given Del Mar race, you probably should sit it out...unless of course you are willing to accept a little help from the Jim Hurley Racing Network.
If you took the time to search the web for the best information from the best analysts regarding the racing that has already taken place over Polytrack and Cushion Track you would reach the conclusion that "off the pace" runners have an increased chance of winning. Over the years, with very few exceptions, in conventional surface dirt sprints and middle-distance two-turn races, a horse that could consistently find his way to one of the top three spots at first call had an added edge.
However, when Arlington opened their new Polytrack surface on May 4 bettors who subscribed to the attributes of such running styles were caught holding the shorts. From a sample of 91 races, as reported by James Quinn in a recent article on Polytrack, closers won 36 of the races (39%) and stalkers won 30 races (33%). The speed horses, those you would expect to be among the top three at first call, broke down to 17 wire-to-wire winners (19%) and 8 pressers (9%).
These stats were from a short period of time, but they did speak to a general trend that has to be taken into consideration on synthetic surfaces. Apparently horses that rate and come from off the pace have a better chance than they might have otherwise had on conventional dirt surfaces. All that being said, it remains to be seen how "off the pace" will be defined as the Arlington season continues or the Del Mar meet unfolds.
Will off the pace mean within five lengths of the lead at second call, within 4 lengths, within the top half of the field or in the back 25%. For instance, if a horse is running is seventh of eight horses in a mile allowance race, is only 3 lengths behind the leader at first call after a quarter mile in :23 flat, is in sixth place while 4 lengths behind a half in :46 2/5 and rallies to win by a length with a final time of 1:36, was he a closer as defined by coming from next-to-last or was he a stalker who outlasted his opponents as he ran his final half mile in :48 4/5?
I am planning an ongoing analysis of how the trainers, jockeys and even the horses themselves adjust to this reality. My suspicion is that since horses run against each other and not against the surface, we will see trainers enter horses that are versatile enough as pressers to manage their early speed just enough to have more left at the finish while stalkers are moved early or reserved depending on the pace of the race and the increased knowledge the jockey gains by racing over the new surface(s). That is my way of saying, that while there are trends, and while "closers" might suddenly be in vogue on artificial surfaces, the game has never been made so easy that all you have to do to win is "just bet the..."
While my pace gurus and trip handicappers do their homework at "the new" Del Mar I will make sure that I keep it close to the vest. Fortunately there is plenty of grass racing to concentrate on while the patterns shake themselves out (remember those three opening day divisions of the Oceanside Stakes) and in a number of the Polytrack races carded over the first few days I'll be keying on horses that have raced and worked in a manner which tells me that they would win whether the races were run in a swamp or on the L.A. Freeway.
TWO DAY - TRIPLE BONANZA GETS THE DEL MAR CASH
OPENING DAY WEDNESDAY, JULY 18th - THURSDAY JULY 19th
There is no better feeling than that of leaving the track a winner on opening day of any race meet. Well, that is exactly what I plan on doing Wednesday and Thursday at Del Mar as I release Three Big Plays Each Day!
I call it the
Two Day - Triple Bonanza
because each day you’ll get…
The Top Longshot Of The Day -
A 6-1 ML or better release that will anchor all your plays.
The Best Trifecta Of The Day -
This combo should return $400 - $500 or more for a $2 Wager.
The Best Pick Three Of The Day -
I’ll combine the best overlay horses from each race into a high paying return and where warranted, recommend an exacta of the horses in one or more of the legs.
Get The Triple Bonanza Either Day
Or Get Both Days For Only $30
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