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Polytrack and Horses for Courses

Arlington Park Communications | 06/06/2008 #

It’s another Arlington meet, and for many fans it means adjusting to an artificial racing surface, again.

Last year was the first year for Polytrack at Arlington. Unless fans had followed racing at other venues with an artificial surface, handicapping Poly for the first time was a new challenge.

Fans should feel more comfortable with Poly now, with experience under their belt. The adjustment to Poly this year should be quicker, more seamless, and more productive.

We have heard the phrase “Horses for Courses.” As originally coined, the phrase implied that horses may prefer one racetrack over another, or they may prefer racing on a dry track as opposed to a sloppy or muddy track. With the expansion of turf racing, the phrase was applied more broadly to indicate that some horses may prefer to race on the grass as opposed to racing on the main track. In recent years, an additional consideration has arisen. Do some horses prefer racing on an artificial surface to racing on a traditional surface? Taking it one step further, do some horses prefer one type of artificial surface over another?

Here are my questions to you, to start our discussion and meaningful exchange of ideas and suggestions.

  1. Do you agree that the Horses for Courses phenomenon applies to artificial surfaces, versus other racing surfaces?
  2. If so, how have you coped with handicapping Arlington Polytrack? That is, if you made a successful adjustment to handicapping and wagering on Polytrack, how have you done so?
  3. When handicapping, have you relied on each horse’s record on synthetic surfaces?
  4. If a horse has never raced on a synthetic surface, how do you handle that?

I have additional questions on my list, but let’s save those for later and see where the questions above take us.

I also have a list of people I fully expect to contribute to this discussion. Don’t let me down. Sign in and chime in now, and keep the dialogue going.