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Location: Stockton, California, United States

Some call me OlRailbird.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Santa Anita Surface Still Funky

Curlin won the Jockey Club Gold Cup to become the richest racehorse in history, based on inflated dollars. The fact is, the dollar has lost nearly half its value in just the last six years, so Curlin really isn't better than Cigar (12 years ago), just as Cigar probably wasn't better than Kelso who retired in 1965 with $1,977,896 in earnings.

Anyway, congratulations to the connections of Curlin as we lift an artificially-flavored concoction of soy and aspartame designed to taste something like champagne while delivering the same high at zero calories.

Meanwhile, the horse himself, however good he really is, heads to Santa Anita's Barn 21 to test the "Pro Ride" artificial surface so that his handlers can decide whether or not to get beat by a rank outsider who loves the "going."

In my last post, I mentioned I had nothing but favorites for Saturday and oddly most of them came in. On the whole, the artificial surface gave a good account of itself with the best horses running over it. Other than the 74-1 shot, ORO BLANCO, running third in the Oak Leaf, the results actually seemed relatively believable. Horses that figured, more or less, won all of the stakes races on "dirt" at Oak Tree Saturday.

Unfortunately, Sunday happened. Compared to Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, Saturday was an abberation.

Sunday's payoffs:

$ 7.80
$ 5.20 (only favorite)

Trevor Denman's new signature call at Santa Anita is, "They straighten into the stretch and the race is wide open!"

I don't know what they did to the track Saturday, but whatever it was, they didn't repeat it Sunday...

The rumor is that the surface heats up in the afternoon. Jockeys and trainers are saying horses that handle the track in the mornings don't handle it in the afternoon. The surface is retaining heat and only about half the horses are able to negotiate the track during the races.

I thought the four stakes run Saturday would clear this up, but they were fairly formful. Sunday went right back to "unhandicapable" -- if that's a word. If it is, its definition is Pro Ride at Santa Anita.

So, Wednesday is a Pick Six carryover (again), but the weather is expected to cool off. Maybe there is a magical temperature where Pro Ride is fair. Here's the forcast for Arcadia:

Wednesday 94
Thursday 88
Friday 81

Perhaps a comparison of results to temperature is in order?

Maybe we should just pray for rain.


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