Del Mar Online Racing Community
Chat about horses, racing, and the industry.
6 posts • Page 1 of 1
I haven't the time to spend right now putting this together in a cohesive, comprehensive manner, but I wanted to share what I have learned so far in my preliminary study. I'm finding the books have been cooked, when Beyer and Crist state flatly that dirt horses are 0 for whatever in each of the Breeders Cup run over the Santa Anita surface...
I posted earlier in this thread about Music Note, Ginger Punch, and Cocoa Beach. My clear point on the matter is none of those mares have a chance against Zenyatta on any surface - if she runs her race. And she did. It doesn't matter if they have had their prior races on dirt, turf, synthetics, or prepped on Mars, they will not beat that mare. Neverthleless.. they are part of the statistical data that Beyer and Crist offers to make their point. Without Zenyatta, the so called "dirt horses," Cocoa Beach and Music Note run 1-2 in the 2008 BC Ladies.
It gets interesting.. There is much more.. The first chart I pullled from the 2008 Breeders Cup in this preliminary study was the filly-mare sprint..won by the top-class mare, Ventura. Ok, so what? Ventura is a grass horse, a synthetic horse. She loves that stuff. Let's examine the race and her competition. Were they disadvantaged as Beyer and Crist suggest with their statistical reference because they previously raced on dirt and this race was on the synthetic Pro-Ride?
The first thing I notice is the second finisher in that race is coming off a race at Belmont, so she too is included in the data as a "dirt horse." That second place finisher is in fact, the champion, Indian Blessing. Now, as we know, Indian Blessing has raced on both coasts, so she is not really a "dirt horse." Is she? In fact, over the Santa Anita Pro-Ride, she is 2 for 3, with her only loss being in the aforementioned BC Filly Sprint to Ventura. In the Santa Ynez, as a young 3 year old in 2008, Indian Blessing ran a scorching 7 furlongs in 1:19.4 over the Pro-Ride. Disadvantaged, they say? She is a champion and a Grade 1 winner on both coasts and both surfaces, beaten on the square by another great racing mare. So, a simple question must again be asked; Does she belong in the group of dirt horses that are disadvantaged racing over the synthetic surface?
There is still more in that same race.. I look down the chart a bit for other horses coming out of dirt races and find another one. It's a familar name, Intangaroo. She is coming off a clever win in the Ballerina at Saratoga - on dirt. So, she too is labeled as a dirt horse, and included in Beyer and Crist's numbers. There is of course a problem with including Intangaroo also... and that is the fact that Intangaroo LOVES the Pro Ride surface. She has two wins and two seconds from 4 starts. She shocked the locals over the Pro Ride in January 08 when running huge and winning the Grade 1 Santa Monica. So, the question again; Does Intangaroo belong in a group of dirt horses that are disadvantaged racing over the synthetic surface?
To conclude this part, pertaining and limited to the Filly/Mare Sprint. The other two "dirt horses" in the race were: Zaftig, who finished 3rd, and the 40-1 shot, Miraculous Miss, who finished a good fourth. Both excellent placings behind the great mares, Ventura and Indian Blessing. So, in other words, without fillies/mares of championship quality like Ventura and Indian Blessing, the dirt horses run 1-2.
Anybody noticing a pattern here?
What's most annoying to me is that Beyer and Crist know this stuff.. They know who these "dirt horses" are that they are including in their blanket statements that "dirt horses" can't handle the synthetics. The players and fans are entitled to the whole truth, not statistical data that is skewed for the benefit of Andy and Steven Crist. I find much of what is coming from them in this regard at the very least skewed, and perhaps more than that, purposefully dishonest. All the players know that Andy's figures don't work much on synthetic. He has struggled with that fact.. But instead of just admitting his numbers arent that good on synthetic, he is taking liberties with the truth. By de-legitimizing synthetic race tracks and the horses that race over them, Mr Beyer attempts to bolster and legitimize his questionable numbers over synthetic. His undeniable self-interest shows up clearly in this data...
There is more - and I'm just at the beginning of this study.. like the two "dirt colts" in the 2008 Juvenile at 8.5 furlongs in the next chart I pulled. They were the only two exiting dirt racing. One of them was Munnings. The other was an outsider coming in from Emerald Downs. I mean Emerald Downs is a lovely place, but they don't win many Breeders Cup races. Do they? And Munnings.. Can somebody here vouch for his ability to get 8.5 furlongs at the Grade 1 level? He staggered home in the one-turn Champagne well behind Vineyard Haven preppring for the BC Juvenile, and the following year (this year) he ran a distant third to Rachel Alexandra in the sloppy Haskell.. But really, was he a legit contender for that two turn Breeders Cup Race coming out of the Champagne where he came home in a very slow 26 seconds while sitting well off the pace? Any competent handicapper throws him out on any surface as a horse with very questionable racing credentials - and in pedigree - to stay a route of ground. To further my point that he is essentially a sprinter that occasionally stretches out; His trainer, Todd Pletcher has run Munnings 10 times in his career thus far. 7 of those 10 races have been at 6 or 7 furlongs. Is Pletcher telling us something about Munnings best distance? In the BC Juvenile, Munnings ran well to the top of the stretch (about 7 furlongs) and then gave way.. So, just considering this one race, the BC Juvenile, is it fair to include a Washington-bred and raced colt with a good resume that was a 20-1 longshot, and an Eastern colt who is essentially a sprinter, and then tell us that dirt horses can't run on synthetic? As suggested in the paragraphs above, some horses run very well on both. Munnings doesn't stay a distance of ground well on either.. Surface seems to have little to do with the fact that he doesn't win races at longer distances. Is the data espoused by Beyer and Crist blind, or are they not telling us the whole story?
I think the answer is obvious.. There is more data to cover, but I haven't the time right now.
Thanks for all of your hard work put into this and obvious knowledge of this sport ...
Your findings are of ZERO surprise to me as I've contended all along that these are just excuses for losing. I personally don't make excuses for losing when I do(unless you call blaming yourself for not being good enough and excuse). It just means I lost to a better man or to someone who performed better in that particular event on that particular day.
I suspect that is the case with horseracing to the majority of the time.
While your "cooked books" findings are of no surprise to me ... I very much appreciate your putting in the time to bring specific details of that skewing to light. Because people aren't going to be swayed by my assertions and conjecture and my observations. Facts that you bring forth may just change some minds.
Thank you ... I appreciate your input ... It's always articulate and salient ...
Intresting article on the new surface at Dubai. Should be easy pickings for the Euro's, Baffert, Sheriffs, and all other trainers who have figured out how to campain "average and ordinary" horses on the new surfaces, guess we won't be seeing Asmussen, Zito, Lukas or of course Jess Jackson because tracks that aren't dirt don't exist, well according to some.
All-weather Surface will Make the World Cup a True Test Laura King
20 November 2009 DUBAI — It is now several weeks since the surface at Meydan, Dubai’s new flagship racecourse, was confirmed as an all weather one, Tapeta – a marked change from the traditional dirt used at Nad Al Sheba.
Already, the news has resonated throughout the racing world in a positive way. The development cements the UAE’s position as leading the sport’s internationalization, in a way that sticking with dirt wouldn’t have.
In the USA, the home of dirt racing, they are slowly beginning to embrace the new synthetic, all weather, surfaces, although at the moment the three Triple Crown tracks are stubbornly refusing to budge. It is now accepted that ‘turf’ horses in most cases run just as well on synthetic tracks and this can only be good news for the World Cup.
While racing’s richest contest always produces a spectacle and has been won by some of the greats over the years, there is little doubt that it hasn’t been really targeted by the best European-trained horses – whose trainers were uncertain about their taking to the dirt. In 14 runnings, it has only once been won by a horse trained in Europe (Godolphin are Dubai-based) and that was the great Singspiel back in 1997.
Now, with the synthetic track installed, European trainers are already beginning to target the World Cup – worth an amazing $10million in 2010 – itself, instead of the two turf races. One such is Twice Over, who is trained in England by Henry Cecil. He won the Emirates Airline Champion Stakes on Turf and then put up a career-best effort in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on a synthetic track. The fact that he is being prepared for the World Cup at this early stage is good news, and he could also renew rivalry with Gio Ponti, a renowned turf specialist who finished one spot ahead of him in the Classic.
After finally living up to its self-billing of World Thoroughbred Championships (Europeans trained six of the 14 winners) I think it is a huge shame that the Breeders’ Cup returns to dirt next year at Churchill Downs. However, while European and Australasian trainers may well swerve Kentucky, they are likely to flood to Dubai, making the World Cup a true Olympics of horse racing.
For fans of live racing, Jebel Ali hosts its third meeting of the season on Friday and if the first two meetings have been anything to go by it will be extremely hard to pick winners! Trends aren’t helping us out much either, with all of the usual training stars – Doug Watson, Musabah Al Muhairi, Ali Rashis Al Raihe, Dhruba Selvaratnam etc – all in fine form.
Avatar - Lords Table winning the Bull Rastus Handicap at Los Al, 9/9/05, Russel Hadley up.
Thanks for the link, Lord's Table. I'm attempting to contact the author now.
The one thing I haven't seen yet on the suject of synthetics vs natural services is any meaningful statistical modeling. This would have to include enough tracks, days racing, times, weather, injuries and even years racing to get enough data (treatments) to show a statistical viability or significance. Probabilities would also need to be done to see how close the data gathered fit the model of synthetic vs natural service.
I have asked sales people and companies what kind of experiments did you do and what type of data did you get to show that synthetics were better than natural surfaces? What type of statistical modeling did you use and how was the data reduced in your experiment?
Did this data reduction show a marked difference between synthetic surfaces and natural surfaces?
Has the results of the experiments been published? And published in some type of peer reviewed journal?
When I asked it was via telephone and email. You could tell that these questions got
And I have never heard or seen anything published on sythetic or natural surface that showed the experimental model, data, method of data reduction and conclusions.
In a very un scholastical piece of data reduction. Was Zenyatta the best horse at the Breeders Cup? Yeah! Is she the best period? Yep!
I have thus far covered the Ladies Classic, the Filly/Mare Sprint, and the Juvenile in these two threads. Let's take a look at the Mile. The claims that Beyer and Crist are making is racing at a synthetic venue unfairly disadvantages "dirt horses". For their purposes, they consider any horse who last ran on the dirt, a "dirt horse." In much the same way, we might consider any person who visits New York and watches a Broadway show, a New Yorker, even if they live and work in California or Louisiana.
The first horse exiting a dirt race I see in the BC Mile is Two Step Salsa. This is another very interesting horse to include in the Beyer/Crist data as a dirt horse.. You know why? Because his entire career til the race preceding the BC Mile, was on synthetic surfaces. In fact, his record on the Santa Anita Pro-Ride was sterling. He was 2 for 2 over the Pro Ride having started his career there. Furthermore, he won the Affirmed Handicap and placed in the Swaps Stakes on the Hollywood Park synthetic surface.. Dirt horse, you say?
But prior to the BC Mile, his Western trainer made an attempt at winning a big purse at Philadelphia Park. Two Step Salsa did not run his race on the Philadelphia dirt. Nevertheless, he was considered a "disadvantaged dirt horse" in the Beyer/Crist data when he came home to California - even though the entirety of his career was on synthetic. No matter what you call Two Step Salsa, "dirt horse", "plastic horse," or whatever, he ran brilliantly in the Mile, running at a pace unmatched in BC Mile History. Breaking on the lead and playing "come catch me," Two Step Salsa ran a scorching six furlong pace in 1:08.3 and gutted it out for a valiant 3rd place finish in the one mile race. On the strength of that mighty effort, Godolphin purchased him, sent him to Dubai, and then, Two Step Salsa, the "synthetic racer, deemed a dirt racer" by Beyer/Crist, wins a major sprint stakes on the Dubai course - on dirt. Hard to keep straight? You bet! Was Two Step Salsa a disadvantaged dirt horse when he raced over the Pro Ride surface after exiting the Philly Park race? No, he was a seasoned synthetic runner who raced once on dirt unsuccessfully.
It is looking like many of these high class horses are handling both surfaces very well.
Let's look at the other top finishers in the Mile. The winner was Albertus Maximus, whose entire career was on synthetic surfaces. He was strictly a Western based horse. A synthetic specialist they say? There was an interesing race a couple of months after the BC Mile in 2008. It was the Donn Handicap run at Gulfstream - on dirt. Guess who showed up for that race? Our own, Albertus Maximus - and he won the race - on dirt. Every horse he faced in that race was a seasoned dirt runner.. and he beat them all. Perhaps he was a good horse.. You think? So, here again, we have another high class horse who acts on both surfaces.
In this race under study, the BC Mile, we have the first and third finishers winning major stakes on dirt AND synthetic. Both spent much of their career on synthetics. Is it fair to say that Two Step Salsa was a dirt horse because he ran one race on the dirt, and also say that Albertus Maximus was a synthetic horse, even though at the time of the BC Mile, he had never set foot on the dirt surfaces? So, the question must be asked again.. "Who are these horses that are included in the Beyer/Crist numbers". Were any of them good enough on the day? Or were they beat by better horses? So far, we have seen in just studying four of the BC races in 2008 that quite a few of the runners under discussion act at the highest level on both surfaces.. but for Beyers and Crists purposes, some are deemed "dirt horses" and others are deemed "synthetic specialists" Is that a fair assesment of Zenyatta, Indian Blessing, Albertus Maximus, Two Step Salsa and the others?
To complete the study of this single race - the BC Mile, the ONLY other horse who ran in the BC Mile deemed a dirt horse in the Beyer/Crist data besides Two Step Salsa was My Pal Charlie. He had exited a Lousiana dirt race. Charlie is a good horse, sound, finishes in the money occasionally in good races.. but nowhere near top class. For the record, the "dirt horse", My Pal Charlie finished a good fourth, beaten less than two lengths by Albertus Maximus. A very good performance I would think for a horse who probably doesn't fit in Grade 1 races. And finally, the second place finisher was Rebellion, a tough late running sprinter who benefited from a clever ride at the longer distance and brilliant pace, falling way back, and running on thru the lane. In my reseach, it appears, Rebellion has raced at least one time on the dirt, but most of his career his sprinting on turf and synthetic. By the way, the one dirt race I could find on Rebellion, he won over the Belmont surface in the Steinlen Stakes. Hmmm.. another horse who handles both surfaces.. What's going on?
So, the first three finishers in the BC Mile were stakes winners on both surfaces.. which means what? It may mean that horses that are described as one-or-the-other, "dirt horse" or "synthetic horse," may be neither. They might be more accurately called top class race horses who do their best to adapt to the conditions and environment they are placed in.
Are we getting the whole picture from the leaders in our industry? (I must say I regret calling Beyer a leader, but he does have his followers.. and Crist, he has ownership of the DRF.. and thus a great soapbox to sermonize from. Although this data/research I'm doing is making them look like they have an ax to grind - a postion to push. It doesn't seem at all fair, nor does it examine some very relevant facts about the horses they include in their 0 - for whatever statistics.
6 posts • Page 1 of 1
Who is online
Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests