Polytrack Racing Surfaces - Exhale
Insight and commentary on the world of thoroughbred horse racing.
Thoughts and opinions about the fascinating sport of thoroughbred horse racing from a racing insider.
Some Poly Good News
January 19, 2007
We’re still in the early
stages of the synthetic racetrack revolution in North America. But the
anecdotal evidence from trainers has been overwhelmingly
positive and vet bills are said to be much lower for horses training over
these new surfaces. The cold hard numbers are equally encouraging so far.
The average margin of victory at the meet was 1.63 lengths, much tighter than the 2.9 and 3.86 average margins at the previous two fall sessions run over conventional dirt tracks. The average distance between race winners and last place finishers also shrunk by around 13 lengths in 2006 when compared with ‘05. In other words, the synthetic surfaces (Polytrack at least) seem to be yielding more competitive and dramatic contests.
Listening to woulda, coulda, shoulda stories might get old for seasoned bettors, but for newcomers near misses, or extra-exciting close wins, might be the difference between coming back to the races or not. It’s already been a plus that Polytrack and Cushion Track have reduced the chance of fans witnessing heart wrenching fatal breakdowns. But now it appears that racetracks can offer a more compelling and exciting product by switching to these new surfaces.
By the end of 2007 Del Mar, Santa Anita and Golden Gate will all have installed synthetic surfaces and we’ll be able to get a better read on these promising trends
Waiting for Exhale
The first graded races for three year-olds were run last weekend and Hard Spun looked like a serious Classics contender after his facile win in the G3 Lecomte at The Fair Grounds. In California, Notional looked solid in winning the G2 San Rafael at Santa Anita. I still have my doubts about this son of In Excess (out of French Deputy mare) handling a mile and a quarter, but his two best performances have now come on traditional dirt surfaces.
Notional looked even better after the third race on Monday’s Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday card at Santa Anita. In that contest, Exhale looked liked the real deal with a powerful win over fellow maidens. He had made only one prior start, a second place run to Notional at the Oak Tree meeting last October.
Exhale has made money for everyone
who’s had their hands on him
so far. He was bred on an $8,500 stud fee, sold for $72,000 as a weanling
in November of 2004, sold again in July of ‘05 for $100,000, and
then realized $800,000 at the 2006 Calder February Two Year-Old in Training
sale. Only time will tell if he’ll be a good investment for his
current owners C R K Stables, but he’s off to an extremely promising
start. We’ll get a better idea where he belongs after the March
3 Robert B. Lewis (formerly the Santa Catalina).
The feature at Santa Anita on MLK day was the G2 Santa Ynez for sophomore
fillies and the winner, Jump On In, looks like she may be Kentucky Oaks
material. She has yet to try two turns, but displayed and impressive turn
of foot in the seven furlong race.
has been a racing enthusiast since the mid-1980's. He is a freelance
writer and thoroughbred marketing consultant and editor of the breeding
journal Owner-Breeder International. Contact