Flops

Tessablue
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Sun Nov 05, 2017 2:04 pm

I think 14 horses was really pushing it for some of those turf races, and a dead rail is pretty embarrassing on a big day (if anyone wants to argue whether it was dead or not, watch the backstretch of the Classic). But it's better than a golden rail (which we have seen at SA) because jockeys should be able to adapt in most situations, and the track didn't seem to favor any specific group of preppers so that was good. Some of the flops would have flopped anywhere (there's no parallel universe where Unique Bella wins that race), some were victims of circumstance (Lady Eli and probably Drefong), some we'll be debating forever.

I wasn't totally enamored of the venue (and hey guys, did you know that it's warm in California? It's like the announcers re-learn it every year and have to inform everyone), but I liked it a lot more than Santa Anita and I'm always glad to see the smaller tracks get a shot at this event.
stark
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Location: SoCal

Sun Nov 05, 2017 3:24 pm

A look back in time, not just this weekend, but let's say the last 50 years or so.

As a SoCal regular horseplayer during that timeframe, I think the term "horsesforcourses" was coined at DelMar. Every year when the sport would relocate from Hollywood Park to Olde Del Mar the fans knew the results were going to be different. We didn't have information at our fingertips like handicappers do today so it was a bit of a crapshoot. One publication, TodaysRacingDigest, was the first I remember that published horses historical records from prior years, and their form held up year after year. If you could find a horse with a couple of wins at DelMar, followed by 7 losses at Santa Anita and 6 more losses at Hollywood, that was like a gold nugget. Now you were just hoping he would show up in one of the exacta or daily double races where you could parlay your winnings into a major score!

Here's what I heard this weekend, speed on the rail is no good, rally wide closers are doing well, some were just spinning their wheels out there and while that was probably true for BreedersCup, it was certainly true for every Del Mar meet I can remember dating back to the 60's. Especially the year when the POLY was installed, that was word-for-word what the recaps sounded like, I'm surprised nobody has mentioned that yet.

So where does that bring us for a conclusion? Maybe it's not about the kind of dirt, the banking of the turns, just maybe there's some truth to the old-timers that read the tide reports? One of the on-track touts (Baedeker?) was famous for selling his picks based on tide reports and the impact high tide played out on the track. I see that Bruno d'Julio has carried on the tradition but I don't pay for his picks so I don't know how he did, but I have seen his twitter comments on the subject.

Every year on boards like this there are biased conversations about which summer venue is better, Saratoga or Del Mar, and fans have their favorites on both sides. I'm thinking they are more alike than ever when it comes to the results. If the BreedersCup was ever held at Saratoga, how many times do you think we'd hear reference to it's the graveyard of favorites?

It's all good, just different.
I've found it easier to tear up tickets at 8/1 instead of 8/5.
Spahny
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Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2013 9:02 pm

Sun Nov 05, 2017 3:59 pm

I don't care where they run the Breeders Cup but wherever it is you are crazy if you don't consider it in your handicapping. It's not necessarily going to put you on the winner but it can help in narrowing the choices. I don't really think Del Mar was a great idea but it was roughly about as good a choice as Keeneland or Lone Star. Better than Monmouth.

Next year is Churchill. A highly quirky main track where experience over the surface is the first thing to consider. Gun Runner never saw Del Mar before. He ran inside all the way around and drew off after being pressed most of the way. Much, much the best horse and would have been at Belmont or Churchill or Santa Anita. There were zero horse for course wins on the main track yesterday.

I don't think Roy H was a horse for course either. He had a troubled 2nd place finish in the Bing Crosby. One bad trip away from being 6 for 6 this year.

The turf course was going to be an issue. It was but not as much as I feared it might be.
Last edited by Spahny on Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Spahny
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Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:03 pm

Also, btw, there were a lot of very vulnerable favorites lined up yesterday. Not one of the most star studded Breeders Cups in my opinion.
middleground
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Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:56 pm

Very interesting posts, Spahny.
sweettalk
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Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2013 5:05 pm

Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:14 pm

a longshot or two is fun. a longshot in almost every race, with the stars well behind, is not fun at all.
Izvestia
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Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:41 pm

Too lazy to look - but was there a correlation with bad performances and training months up to the race?
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Diver52
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Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:14 am

After starting the thread, I want to say that it wasn't meant as a commentary on Del Mar; others have views on the track. I just felt spoiled after last year with the Distaff and Classic, great racehorses at their best throwing down. With all due respect to Gun Runner and Forever Unbridled, those weren't the races we will remember as top BC performances. Arrogate trying to run down Gun Runner. Stellar Wind battling with Forever Unbridled. Roy H going after Drefong. Lady Aurelia and Marsha. Etc. It just didn't play out emotionally as a great day of racing.

OTOH I've seen comments about empty seats. Well, my friend and I had seats--high up, but inside the sixteenth pole--first BC where I could see who won! But we were only in those seats half the time It was a nice warm day, we went down to the paddock (had to be there 30 minutes ahead), or to the main Plaza where we looked enviously at people in the Mumm's pavilion, browsed the BC merchandise (seriously ugly for women, thank God I had my nice heathery purple pullover from SA a couple of years ago; we even went out to the infield for the Turf Sprint because the good food was out there (shrimp tacos with melted jack cheese, pickled carrot and avocado foam, yum!) there were plenty of big screens--it wasn't like a cold wet day where people hunkered down in their seats. It's California, it was as much a "see and be seen" scene as a racing scene. Sundresses and fascinators and people hanging out looking beautiful. Were they hardcore fans? No. Was everybody having a good time? Yes, as far as I could tell!
I ran marathons. I saw the Taj Mahal by Moonlight. I drove Highway 1 in a convertible. I petted Zenyatta.
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bare it all
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Mon Nov 06, 2017 1:32 pm

From a purely fan perspective, it was a little bit of a let-down seeing the "stars" lose (mainly Lady Eli, imho). For many, this was their last race and I would have liked to see them do well. I I'm fine with the results and from what I recall, we saw no catastrophic injuries in the BC races - quirky surface or not. I know Mr Hinx was having surgery and we did lose Cheekaboomboom on the weekend, though.

That said, can't wait to see it back at Churchill next year. I'm already planning my weekend. ;)
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ThreeMustangs
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Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:05 pm

bare it all wrote:From a purely fan perspective, it was a little bit of a let-down seeing the "stars" lose (mainly Lady Eli, imho). For many, this was their last race and I would have liked to see them do well. I I'm fine with the results and from what I recall, we saw no catastrophic injuries in the BC races - quirky surface or not. I know Mr Hinx was having surgery and we did lose Cheekaboomboom on the weekend, though.

That said, can't wait to see it back at Churchill next year. I'm already planning my weekend. ;)
Me, too! Trying to decide if we’re going to hit Lexington before or after the BC. :D
Apollo
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Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:48 pm

sweettalk wrote:a longshot or two is fun. a longshot in almost every race, with the stars well behind, is not fun at all.
Exactly. I was going to mention this yesterday but didn't want to drift. Since your post relates to it, I'll go ahead: The Breeders Cup this year reminded me of the world track and field championships from this August. Highly anticipated but there was one bizarre result after another. Not just unlikely. Bizarre. The guy who came in last in the Rio Olympic 200 meter final ended up winning the world championships this year.

Eventually it was just too much. Other than the great women's steeplechase when Americans went 1-2 in astonishing fashion the event was considered a huge flop. Usain Bolt bombed out in his final career races just like Arrogate bombed out. The event was panned on all the major track and field forums.

This Breeders Cup was just like that, except it didn't have the one memorable race to fall back on. Snooze city.

I went to school at USC in the '80s and frequently made the trek to Hollywood Park. That track fit everything I look for as a handicapper. Mostly speed but even targeted closers made sense and would come through. Santa Anita was never as kind but I could deal with it.

Then I quickly despised Del Mar. I'll always despise Del Mar. As I wrote somewhere here it's more like bouncing or hopping than running. Once I finally found Saratoga in the mid '90s I couldn't believe I had wasted so many decades before heading there. Great reasonable priced golf nearby and racing in the afternoon. Racing that made sense. I've never found it difficult to handicap. Maybe not Hollywood Park logical, but never feeling cheated like it's being touted as one sport but doesn't resemble that sport at all.

I had to laugh at the tide reports in this thread. That tells you all you need to know about Del Mar.
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