Keeneland Reverts to Dirt

Somnambulist

Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:54 pm

I don't think the data is thorough enough when it doesn't include morning fatality rates.

And, if one dirt track has higher than average - as in tracks like SA - and skews the data that is also bad statistics. It's not as simple as dirt is bad and evil and everyone who argues for it deserves to be drawn and quarted. It's simply acknowledging how it looks like there might be some spin to this.


The people arguing against this are the ones:
- who say it's for the handicappers, but handicappers hated the old surface and Keeneland has put out record high in handle and attendance for awhile, so clearly it's probably not that.
- say ADW is safer but can provide no stats on whether or not Kee's prior dirt surface was actually worse. I have no idea. I can't find anything. If I can't where are people finding their information?

I'm confused.
TBird
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Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:14 pm

gravano wrote:TBird I want to believe this, but there just aren't many stakes-caliber dirt horses that race past age 3.
And quite frankly, I'm think it's time we got rid of anecdotal evidence. We have so much data and it can computed so quickly. In this era it no longer makes any sense to base decisions on what you or anyone else perceive as a trainers' reasons for running a horse on a certain surface.
Anecdotally speaking...we had horses in training at Arlington for 18 months. During that time, the dirt training track was like Grand Central in the mornings, while the poly main track sat mostly empty except for the horses doing timed works. It wasn't my perception. The trainers were perfectly happy to talk about why they weren't using the main track, and they often did talk about it. They'd lost many more horses to injuries on the artificial surface than they did on dirt. So day-to-day they trained on dirt.
Somnambulist

Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:24 pm

TBird wrote:Anecdotally speaking...we had horses in training at Arlington for 18 months. During that time, the dirt training track was like Grand Central in the mornings, while the poly main track sat mostly empty except for the horses doing timed works. It wasn't my perception. The trainers were perfectly happy to talk about why they weren't using the main track, and they often did talk about it. They'd lost many more horses to injuries on the artificial surface than they did on dirt. So day-to-day they trained on dirt.
So you own horses and foot the bills and you're saying you know better than people like me who don't?

You've some nerve TBird.
Rick1323
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Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:44 pm

Does anyone even for a second think the switch back to dirt has anything to do with safety? The AW surface has become an third wheel. No one likes losing on it, and few like winning on it since it doesn't translate to "real" surfaces where the big races are run......

It may have been installed with safety in mind, but it has nothing to do with it coming out.....the new surface may be more or less safe than the AW, it doesn't matter since safety didn't drive the decision to remove it.....
Everyone come home sound.....
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pointgivenfan
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Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:02 pm

Somnambulist wrote:
TBird wrote:Anecdotally speaking...we had horses in training at Arlington for 18 months. During that time, the dirt training track was like Grand Central in the mornings, while the poly main track sat mostly empty except for the horses doing timed works. It wasn't my perception. The trainers were perfectly happy to talk about why they weren't using the main track, and they often did talk about it. They'd lost many more horses to injuries on the artificial surface than they did on dirt. So day-to-day they trained on dirt.
So you own horses and foot the bills and you're saying you know better than people like me who don't?

You've some nerve TBird.
I don't quite get this response.
TBird isn't saying anything new; the amount of injuries on Arlington's track hasn't exactly been a secret.
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gravano
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Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:15 pm

TBird wrote:
gravano wrote:TBird I want to believe this, but there just aren't many stakes-caliber dirt horses that race past age 3.
And quite frankly, I'm think it's time we got rid of anecdotal evidence. We have so much data and it can computed so quickly. In this era it no longer makes any sense to base decisions on what you or anyone else perceive as a trainers' reasons for running a horse on a certain surface.
Anecdotally speaking...we had horses in training at Arlington for 18 months. During that time, the dirt training track was like Grand Central in the mornings, while the poly main track sat mostly empty except for the horses doing timed works. It wasn't my perception. The trainers were perfectly happy to talk about why they weren't using the main track, and they often did talk about it. They'd lost many more horses to injuries on the artificial surface than they did on dirt. So day-to-day they trained on dirt.
Well statistically speaking there were 22 catastrophic breakdowns during races at Arlington in its last year on the dirt surface. Roughly six times the national average. In its first year poly there 14 and 12 the following year.

Chicago is cold in the mornings and that made the polytrack very stiff, but when they started using the J hook you would see more trainers using the main track. Jockeys didn't like it at first either. People involved in horse racing aren't always the earliest adopters of technology. They still race horses for chrissakes, but with time everyone learns and things get better.
harvestmoon
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Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:45 pm

pointgivenfan wrote:
Somnambulist wrote:
TBird wrote:Anecdotally speaking...we had horses in training at Arlington for 18 months. During that time, the dirt training track was like Grand Central in the mornings, while the poly main track sat mostly empty except for the horses doing timed works. It wasn't my perception. The trainers were perfectly happy to talk about why they weren't using the main track, and they often did talk about it. They'd lost many more horses to injuries on the artificial surface than they did on dirt. So day-to-day they trained on dirt.
So you own horses and foot the bills and you're saying you know better than people like me who don't?

You've some nerve TBird.
I don't quite get this response.
TBird isn't saying anything new; the amount of injuries on Arlington's track hasn't exactly been a secret.
I think her response was very tongue in cheek, but I could be wrong. :)
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pointgivenfan
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Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:47 pm

harvestmoon wrote:
pointgivenfan wrote:
Somnambulist wrote:
So you own horses and foot the bills and you're saying you know better than people like me who don't?

You've some nerve TBird.
I don't quite get this response.
TBird isn't saying anything new; the amount of injuries on Arlington's track hasn't exactly been a secret.
I think her response was very tongue in cheek, but I could be wrong. :)
Half of me hopes you are wrong so I won't feel like a fool for falling into a massive sarchasm Som dropped there.
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harvestmoon
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Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:54 pm

pointgivenfan wrote: Half of me hopes you are wrong so I won't feel like a fool for falling into a massive sarchasm Som dropped there.
Don't worry! If it's true, I'll save you! I've got a rope. :)
frankel13
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Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:08 pm

Personally I don't understand the love of dirt tracks. Horses running further than a mile finish so sloooooowly.
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Miss Woodford
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Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:23 pm

frankel13 wrote:Personally I don't understand the love of dirt tracks. Horses running further than a mile finish so sloooooowly.
That's really only been the case in the past 20-odd years though. In America.
Somnambulist

Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:26 pm

harvestmoon wrote:
I think her response was very tongue in cheek, but I could be wrong. :)
My tongue was through my cheek...

The best way to go about reading anything I write is to assume I'm just full of complete and utter shit...
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pointgivenfan
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Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:48 pm

Looks like I'm gonna need a rope.
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dustino140
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Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:58 pm

I don't understand the notion that 'we must not care about our horses if we move away from synthetic surfaces.' I understand that has a little extra zip in current circumstances, however I don't think it flies. Synthetic surfaces were installed at tracks from California to Ontario with minimal evidence of their effectiveness, and as far as I can tell they've created headaches for horsemen and aren't always kind to track maintenance crews. I don't think they've been a failure, but I don't think anybody looking at the entire picture would call them a success, either.

Synthetic surfaces got a great chance, though. They just continually, in my opinion, came up lacking when it mattered the most. We saw it when Raven's Pass and Henrythenavigator finished 1-2 in a Breeders' Cup Classic. We saw it when Gio Ponti ran 2nd in a Classic. We saw it in the Blue Grass Stakes, whose past 7 winners are Java's War, Dullahan, Brilliant Speed, Stately Victor, General Quarters, Monba and Dominican. Left in their wake were Street Sense, Palace Malice, Hansen, First Dude, Pyro and Zanjero. We see it in this year's Blue Grass prospective field, which is a who's who of Grade 3 turf horses. We're seeing it in Dubai, where the 'world's richest race' went from the coronation of superstars like Cigar, Curlin, Dubai Millennium, Invasor, Silver Charm and Street Cry now rewards the mediocrity of African Story, Monterosso, Victoire Pisa and Gloria de Campeao. We saw synthetics step up and rear their head when Dullahan beat Game On Dude in the Pacific Classic. Or the year before, when Acclamation won the Pacific Classic. Or how can we forget Go Between winning the Pacific Classic.

Simply put, US racing isn't ready to have its dirt dominance negated by a surface that doesn't cater to its premier horses. The Breeders' Cup has made it somewhat evident that it does not want to host its premier event on synthetic surfaces. Tracks are showing that the preference is not to run elite races on synthetics.

That isn't to say there isn't a place for synthetic surfaces in North American racing. It seems to fare incredibly well at lesser tracks and it does seem to deliver on its 'all weather' promise. I don't think anybody minds it at Woodbine, Presque Isle, Turfway or Arlington. For the most part, though, the trainers there have options. Options for horses that don't take to the surface. Don't like the Presque surface? They can run in New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia or Ohio. Don't like it at Golden Gate? You can go south to Santa Anita. Plus, none of those tracks have a lineage of premier Grade 1 main track races. They aren't missing out on top horses.

With that said, Keeneland's decision seems to be rooted in two ideals as much as anything else - they want the Breeders' Cup, and they want the Blue Grass Stakes to be a relevant Kentucky Derby prep race once again. To accomplish both of those goals, they needed to start over with dirt. So here we are.
Barnfour
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Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:58 pm

Somnambulist wrote:
The best way to go about reading anything I write is to assume I'm just full of complete and utter shit...
This^^^ is accurate~
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Miss Woodford
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Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:08 pm

Woodbine is pretty far from a "lesser" track, they have one of the highest purse structures in North America and numerous graded stakes races. And they are really the only option for TBs in Ontario (Fort Erie is a zombie course like Suffolk), and by far the highest quality racing in Canada.
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dustino140
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Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:17 pm

Miss Woodford wrote:Woodbine is pretty far from a "lesser" track, they have one of the highest purse structures in North America and numerous graded stakes races. And they are really the only option for TBs in Ontario (Fort Erie is a zombie course like Suffolk), and by far the highest quality racing in Canada.
It's always amazing when you type up a 500 word post and somebody hangs on 3 of the most irrelevant words to respond to. Marvelous. I guess that means the other 497 were damn good.

Being the highest quality thoroughbred racing product in Canada, at this point, is like being the least morbidly obese kid at fat camp. Furthermore, Woodbine's 'premier' races are turf races. I don't think there is much opposition to running vaunted races like the Dominion Day, Selene, Whimsical or Valedictory on the synthetic, so long as Woodbine's showcase races are preserved. Plus I think the 'all weather' facet of the tracks is of increased importance once the schedule gets past Halloween.
second_glance
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Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:30 pm

"From a Synthetic Track to Dirt, and a Higher Risk for Horses":

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/04/sport ... .html?_r=0


People complain about racing being dragged through the mud. Well, hell. Racing continually throws itself in the mud and screams "Drag me! Drag me!"
Somnambulist

Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:34 pm

second_glance wrote:
People complain about racing being dragged through the mud. Well, hell. Racing continually throws itself in the mud and screams "Drag me! Drag me!"
It does, but I still don't see my "proof" the Keeneland dirt was much worse than it's synthetic.

That's really what I'm wondering. How this particular track compared before. This data seems to be available nowhere.
blamethewinner
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Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:37 pm

second_glance wrote:"From a Synthetic Track to Dirt, and a Higher Risk for Horses":

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/04/sport ... .html?_r=0


People complain about racing being dragged through the mud. Well, hell. Racing continually throws itself in the mud and screams "Drag me! Drag me!"
Because an alcoholic who can't even get the Horse of the Year's name right (first edition of the story said "Wise Man") used some flawed statistics to deride a game he obviously hates, yet uses for his livelihood? Drape is a jackass.
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