I think Terry's all-purpose answer for any questions about the Beyers -- "Let the handicapper decide for himself" -- applies here.
Is "slow early pace" too broad of a generalization for Beyer to make for all synthetic tracks? Let the handicapper decide for himself.
Is there really a big enough statistical sample of synthetic races for Beyer to be farting around with his scales and methodologies (again)?
Let the handicapper decide for himself.
It's a genius-level answer: it quiets the question without offending the questioner. And it's a subtle way of refuting any and all criticism one might have of the Beyer's, almost an implication that other handicappers are dealing with any possible shortcomings the Beyer methodology might have quite nicely, thank you, why can't you sir, please move along, nothing to see here.
Clever. Beyer should just refer all of his critics to Terry, and pay him by the pound.
Once again, to clarify, that stance was adopted in response to your claim that the sheets did not, and did not need to, make any cross-surface adjustments because it was up to the handicapper to know those things and decide for himself. Yes, you are right, it's a genius-level answer for quieting the question, in this case why the sheets guys are not, a) admitting the problem, and b) doing anything about it. Just say everyone knows it, it's not a problem, but rather something the handicapper needs to deal with himself, and go merrily on your way. (And of course, we know sheets guys can do it, because they're a superior breed - after all, they use sheets, do they not?)
And really, what's the objection to Beyer "farting around" with his numbers from people who turn up their nose at them? Move along, nothing to see here.
Now, in an attempt to try and address bjchapin's actual question, I put a very similar question to another forum this afternoon, and the gentleman who responded (a sheets expert) said his data showed a substantial decrease in early pace - route distances.
"Let's do Hollywood Cushion because I have the numbers in front of me.
I'd say that very few of the sprints are run at what I'd call a
fraudulent pace. But routes are a different story. I'd say that maybe 25%
of the routes are run at an abnormally slow pace, and that this is
considerably higher than the old Hol dirt track. And in sprints, too, if
you calculate the energy distribution of the winners, you'll see that
there's been a shift toward winners going slower early and faster late.
All in all, the surface has become more like turf, but what keeps the
Cushion sprints from filling up with fraudulent paces is that turf
sprints are themselves very much like sprints on real dirt. And let me
add that Hol Cushion is the most dirt-like of the CA synthetics."
Not entirely clear, but you get the picture. Some routes are abnormally slow paced, and energy distributions different in sprints ,and that's just Hollywood. (To be clear, this same gentleman didn't entirely agree with Andy's approach, and felt there should be individual race adjustments for pace and energy distribution - as of course, there probably should have been in dirt numbers all these years.)
Now, as to whether or not it should be applied to all synthetic tracks ... well, hard to say. All dirt tracks do not play the same, and turf tracks vary wildly, but for years players have been operating on blind faith that nationally made numbers (of all stripe) will translate from one track to the next. If there's a single approach for dirt and a single approach for turf, I guess we can accept a single approach for poly. In this particular case, if you use Beyer's numbers and intend to keep using them, you pretty much have to accept that his organization has done enough research with a large enough statistical sample to justify him taking the approach he is taking. If you don't use Beyer numbers, it's a splendid opportunity to dump on him - again.