Joe and Brian Answer Your Facebook Questions - Volume 6

It seems to me that there are an awful lot of short fields this year at the track, why is this? Also there seems to be an unusual amount of scratches on race day making these fields even shorter. These scratches occur when the track and weather are next to perfect. Do these horses ever have any intentions in being in the race or are they added to give the early impression that the fields will be modest in terms of size? - Kyle M.

Joe Kristufek: The "shorter fields" are a product of the purses being offered. Indiana Downs and Prairie Meadows in Iowa both have casinos, which supplement their purses. We have a lot of very loyal Illinois owners/trainers, but you can't blame them for following the money, so to speak. Arlington is one of the most beautiful racetracks in the world, and trainers love stabling here. With competitive purses, you would see drastic improvement in the field sizes, and the quality of racing. Director of racing Chris Polzin is doing a masterful job with the horses he has to work with. Illinois deserves top class racing. We have a great facility and a strong fan base and need the purses to match. Often times horses scratch and pop up a couple days later to help fill another race. Trainers have to run their horses where they have the best opportunity to win, and earn purse money.

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When there is turf racing what is the best rail setting? What are the post advantages if any in turf racing. - Bradford P.

Brian W. Spencer: So far this meet, the further out the rail is, the more advantageous it has been to horses coming from off the pace rather than those who have been setting or pressing the pace. I'm not so sure that I'd call it a "bias," but remember that often you get big fields in turf races, so horses who are coming from further back have an increased likelihood of getting into traffic trouble of some kind. That may be why sometimes it seems like there is a "bias" towards runners with pressing styles, as they're able to get first jump on the deep closers turning for home and avoid all the trouble.

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In race 1 on 7/8/10, the eligibility conditions for the $25,000 claiming race are as follows: 3yo and up N3L OR 3yo. With that being said, how do #3 Collidin and #5 What Do You Mean qualify for this race? Both are 4-year-olds with 3 or more victories. - Chris S.

Brian W. Spencer: You'll see that it's a race that has several conditions, as it allows the racing office to get creative to help build competitive and fuller fields by offering more conditions in a race. There are essentially two conditions and a bonus note that further increases eligibility. Let's go through them one by one. First, it's a claiming race with a $25,000 tag. Here's how you remain eligible for this:

1. "For Three Year Olds and Upward Which Have Never Won Three Races..." -- this means exactly what it sounds like, any horse aged three or older that has never won three races qualifies for this.

2. "Or Three Year Olds..." -- this means that if you own a 3-year old, it is eligible for this race no matter how many wins it has. You could have a sophomore with 5 career wins, but he's still eligible for it.

3. "Races where entered for $17,500 or less not considered in eligibility or allowances..." -- THIS is the key of what you're getting it. Collidin has won five races in his career, but those wins came at $10K maiden claiming, $17.5N2L, $10KN3L, Illinois Allowance NW1X, and $17.5B (a race similar to this). Basically, though Collidin has won five times, for the purpose of this race's conditions, he has won just one race, that Illinois allowance, because he was in for $17.5K or less in every other one of his career wins. In some of these races, you'll see some very competitive fields thanks to the multiple conditions. Great question!