Thursday morning quick picks

In the Aqueduct post yesterday, I meant to include this terrific article by Mike Jarboe from March 2001. Writing in the Times Union, Jarboe evinces an infectious affection for the homely (in both senses of the word) track.

Saratogians and other Capital District residents: looking for a way to celebrate Hallowe’en and contribute to a good cause? Check out the Hallowe’en party at the Grey Gelding on Broadway in Saratoga. The cover is $10; you’ll get live music, beer and wine tastings, and a silent auction, with the proceeds benefitting the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.

Speaking of equine philanthropy, CANTER NE has its own blog, where you’ll find information on Thoroughbred retirement and transitioning horses to life post-racing; details on assisting with horse welfare efforts; information addressing common questions of prospective adopters; and success stories. The most recent post focuses on last weekend’s CANTER NE Showcase and the end of the Suffolk meet.

And speaking of racing blogs, Ed DeRosa of Thoroughbred Times has his own site, Big Event Blog, in which he writes about racing and journalism, and racing journalism. He’ll be covering the Breeders’ Cup from Santa Anita.

While not exactly timely, I found this at the Daily Racing Form a little over a week ago, with regard to Proviso’s disqualification in the Spinster at Keeneland opening weekend. Under the headline, “Mushka a deserving winner,” Marty McGee writes:

Data issued recently by officials with Trakus, the electronic tracking
technology system in use at Keeneland, suggests that the disqualification of
Proviso from first to second in the Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes on Oct. 11
was warranted beyond the fact the stewards ruled that Proviso was guilty of
impeding Mushka during the stretch run. Mushka was awarded victory after
crossing under the wire second.

In a lengthy explanation to the Keeneland publicity staff, Michael Ciacciarelli, chief executive officer for Trakus, said Mushka was traveling about 2.2 feet per second faster than Proviso at the time of the foul. Had there been no foul and if the two horses had kept a constant speed for the remaining 380 feet of the race, Mushka would have won by about 1 1/2 lengths, Ciacciarelli said.

While I’ve seen any number of compelling uses for Trakus, this is the first time that I’ve seen it used to justify a disqualification. Very interesting…

9 thoughts on “Thursday morning quick picks

  1. I really like the Trakus stats. So much extra information available after races that helps to explain why I didn't pick a winner! (Extra distance travelled, etc.)BTW – In your AQU post, a couple commenters longed for better facilities. I say, careful what you wish for – I miss the dank of old Woodbine!

  2. Teresa,Another great piece, but I take exception to any reliance upon such electronic gatherings as those particular Trakus stats that seemingly justify a disqualification. Taken at face value they, of course, lead to a firm and somewhat entertaining conclusion as Trakus states. However, because nothing in life, especially on the racetrack, is certain beyond its observance — consider the prediction of local weather — pretending the momentary facts could exist beyond their moment is so speculative that I feel the Trakus data really amount to no more than self promotion.Wasn't there and know no more than I read in your extraordinary column, but I do know one cannot fairly expect certain race conditions to continue far beyond their moment on the course, or another 380 feet: Therefore, to represent as a given Mushka's likely victory without impedence ought to be taken lightly.All the "facts" and "figures" we're dealt by all the collecting agencies that we know do have value, but their worth is strictly dependent upon consistently reliable collection methods and their subordinance to the practical physics of horseracing. The Keeneland stewards' determination is expected to be correct because those judging individuals are expected to accurately distill all the elements of truth, not just a momentary set of timings.No offense against Marty McGee or Michael Ciacciarelli intended, but I am confident Mushka was placed first for more meaningful reasons than a hopeful progression of numbers.As Mr. McGee wrote, "interesting."

  3. the Mike Jarboe piece is wonderful…thanks for sharing it. In 2001 he writes about the quality of racing and that the racing sec. wrote races for $10k claimers…well let the record show in the winter on '08/'09 Mr Campo wrote races for $5k claimers at AQU. Looks like I may be able to sneak out for 3-4 races on Sat. Dropping off kids at the Bay Ridge campus for Homecoming then jumping on the Belt. If so, I'll look for you…..

  4. Keith: But really…having never seen the old Woodbine, I find the new one pretty spectacular…hard to imagine the Big A that glitzy and modern.Anon: I'm not advocating the use of Trakus in DQ's, and as this information came out days after the race, I didn't get the sense that the stewards took that information into account at the time. I see your point and agree with it to a certain extent, but I think that stewards already do what they suggest Trakus did: think about what would have happened if the foul hadn't occurred. "That horse would have won [finished 2nd, etc.] if…" is the basis of all DQ's, no? And thank you for the kind words–See you Saturday, Scott…

  5. Teresa,Yes, and no. When the stewards adjudicate a claim of foul or their own inquiry, each one looks at the point-of-infraction evidence as depicted through videotape, and as a group they consult patrol judges and the riders of the involved horses as well as each other before making their decisions. A part of their thinking can include "what might have come to pass were there no determined infraction," but such a consideration must be used only as additional support for their already firm conclusions decided upon tangible, reviewable evidence.Your thought, "the impeded horse would have won had not…," would only apply nearing the finish line, and only if the scenario included a potential winner.I do not suggest your advocacy. I only wish to bring out salient points that could enhance the depth of your excellent writing and constructive thinking about Thoroughbred horseracng.

  6. Teresa,Another great piece, but I take exception to any rnialece upon such electronic gatherings as those particular Trakus stats that seemingly justify a disqualification. Taken at face value they, of course, lead to a firm and somewhat entertaining conclusion as Trakus states. However, because nothing in life, especially on the racetrack, is certain beyond its observance consider the prediction of local weather pretending the momentary facts could exist beyond their moment is so speculative that I feel the Trakus data really amount to no more than self promotion.Wasn’t there and know no more than I read in your extraordinary column, but I do know one cannot fairly expect certain race conditions to continue far beyond their moment on the course, or another 380 feet: Therefore, to represent as a given Mushka’s likely victory without impedence ought to be taken lightly.All the “facts” and “figures” we’re dealt by all the collecting agencies that we know do have value, but their worth is strictly dependent upon consistently reliable collection methods and their subordinance to the practical physics of horseracing. The Keeneland stewards’ determination is expected to be correct because those judging individuals are expected to accurately distill all the elements of truth, not just a momentary set of timings.No offense against Marty McGee or Michael Ciacciarelli intended, but I am confident Mushka was placed first for more meaningful reasons than a hopeful progression of numbers.As Mr. McGee wrote, “interesting.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s