Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Crying Bias

I'm a believer in track bias. I don't think there's a doubt that it exists. However, I'm starting to understand why some people are sick and tired of hearing about it.
     Let's go back to Saturday at Santa Anita. We saw two major front end winners that day, California Chrome in the San Felipe and Game On Dude in the Big 'Cap. California Chrome was exiting two impressive wins and took pressure from Midnight Hawk, who backed off after 3/4 of a mile. There didn't appear to be any significant closing threats on paper, and that played out in the race. The best horse won. That best horse just happened to be a speed runner. Game On Dude took a bit of pressure from longshot Hear the Ghost in the Big 'Cap, but got away from him quickly. When Game On Dude makes the lead, he's next to unbeatable. He's a great horse when things go his way. Will Take Charge did manage to make up some ground to be second by a length and 3/4.
     Do these two races warrant calling the track speed biased? No. In the first race, 6/5 favourite Faith Love Hope made a clear lead, but was overtaken down the stretch by Satirical, who rallied from second-last to win by two lengths. In the San Carlos, Sahara Sky rallied from eighth to win even after being steadied on the turn. Clubhouse Ride came from sixth to be third beaten a nose for second. Then in Race 10, a first level allowance, Protocol won with a stalking trip, and the two early speed runners finished fifth and seventh. When speed was the best, speed won. When it wasn't it lost.
    Now I listened/read this speed bias chatter but blew it off. But then today at Gulfstream, we had the return of Honor Code. The Remsen winner who hadn't run since November couldn't possibly lose. At least not until he did. Social Inclusion, an impressive debut-winner on Fountain of Youth day, got a clear lead, went reasonable fractions, took no pressure, and drew off to win by 10. It just so happened in Race 6, a NW2X allowance, we had a lone speed winner in Evolution Rocks, who was exiting a Stakes win with a 105 Beyer. These two horses caused another uproar of how speed biased the track was. What people didn't seem to realize was that in the three other dirt races on the card, it was stalkers and closers who dominated. The supposed speed bias was non-existent.
    A speed bias is where speed horses are holding on when they shouldn't be, and closers aren't rallying when they should be. Take a look at what is happening in the all of the races before crying bias.

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