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Author Topic: News Flash for Arlington:  (Read 2009 times)
Horse Voice
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« on: December 03, 2005, 08:29:12 AM »

Excerpted from DRF:

Polytrack's impact already apparent
By MARTY McGEE
Turfway Park made a quick break from the gate when it started its Holiday meet Sunday, and track president Bob Elliston said the new Polytrack surface is the underlying reason.
All-sources handle on the first two programs - Sunday and Wednesday - averaged roughly $2.4 million, up nearly 20 percent from corresponding dates last year. Elliston said he expects that trend to continue, "more or less," especially if Turfway fields continue to be as robust as they are. Through the first three cards, including Thursday night, field size averaged better than 11 horses per race. The Turfway maximum is 12.

"It all goes back to Polytrack," said Elliston, referring to the weather-resistant surface that was first used at the track's fall meet in September. "The horsemen continue to demonstrate how much they like the new surface by the way they're entering. As everyone knows, big fields fuel your business at the windows."

***end of excerpt ***

So, it's *not* slots, eh? Go figure.
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ZeeGirl
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« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2005, 08:33:30 AM »

A couple of California tracks are also looking into installing an all weather track.  May be a year or so before completion. 
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big wally
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« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2005, 09:29:00 AM »

I never heard Horseman Complain about the Arlington suface. However, the SO. CAl tracks  heard numerous complaints, especially SA. Turfway lost so many dates in the winter they had to do something.
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CLOCKERTERRY
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« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2005, 09:34:13 AM »

"It all goes back to Polytrack," said Elliston, referring to the weather-resistant surface that was first used at the track's fall meet in September. "The horsemen continue to demonstrate how much they like the new surface by the way they're entering.

It's magic. Put in a new Polytrack surface, arrange for a hurricane to take out a track where many Kentucky horsemen normally spend the winter so they stay home this year, and voila! Instant success.
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Horse Voice
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« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2005, 09:51:23 AM »

It's magic. Put in a new Polytrack surface, arrange for a hurricane to take out a track where many Kentucky horsemen normally spend the winter so they stay home this year, and voila! Instant success.

Good point, Terry, but I have to believe at least some of the horsemen would have stuck around at TP to check it out: why ship to what has become an ultra-tough meet at FG is you can face lesser competition at TP...and you might actually RUN instead of suffering 8 cancelled cards in a row while your good ones lose their form in the barn.

My point wasn't so much that AP (or any other track) should install Polytrack; it was that big fields are the name of the game, so do whatever is under your control (TP --> install Polytrack, arrange for devastating hurricane elsewhere, AP --> increase purses and treat customers better?) to attract more horses -- not wait for a slots bailout.

I did a terrible job of making that point. Sorry.
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CLOCKERTERRY
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« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2005, 10:04:15 AM »

My point wasn't so much that AP (or any other track) should install Polytrack; it was that big fields are the name of the game, so do whatever is under your control (TP --> install Polytrack, arrange for devastating hurricane elsewhere, AP --> increase purses and treat customers better?) to attract more horses -- not wait for a slots bailout.

I did a terrible job of making that point. Sorry.

You made the point. I just don't think we should let news like that get around because a politician might see it. Thus I was obfuscating it with the hurricane thing. In fact the other track owners should hold Elston down and give him noogies for saying that in public. Handle up 20% (maybe to be followed by the fabled purse increase?) with the armada of riverboats still lurking just down the road, and this guy attributes it to something as simple as more attractive betting races? Bah! Heresy!
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big wally
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« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2005, 11:36:07 AM »

If Turfway handled just $2.4 million that means they just handled $2m last year. It shows what garbage they had last year.
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nwaryas
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« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2005, 12:05:58 PM »

Why would a summer track use polytrack surface? It's hot and humid. Natural dirt is better for summer.
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ZeeGirl
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« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2005, 12:11:13 PM »

Wrong,  Polytrack is significantly less punishing on a horses knees and fetlocks.  Injuries of all types are reduced dramatically.    California will soon install an all weather track and its not because of the weather but because the track is so hard.  JMO
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nwaryas
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« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2005, 12:15:52 PM »

You think those little rubber in the dirt will help. I don't think so! If they wanted to make less punishing on the horses knees, then why aren't poly surfaces in the barn areas?
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ZeeGirl
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« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2005, 12:19:47 PM »

One word .....  expensive....... And besides horses in the barn area are not putting tons of stress on their forelegs. 
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nwaryas
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« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2005, 12:30:54 PM »

So when you walk the horse around the barn for 10 minutes after a workout or gallop, that's not more pressure on the knees or forelegs. The horse is so tired then
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APCD Dan
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« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2005, 12:32:30 PM »

I am impressed at the Hawthorne big fields.  They must be averaging about 10 critters on four legs per race.  If it is true that big fields are the savior for racing, why the 7% purse cut at Hawthorne recently?
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ZeeGirl
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« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2005, 12:36:23 PM »

Has to be due to  lower overall handle.   
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CLOCKERTERRY
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« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2005, 11:39:18 PM »

I am impressed at the Hawthorne big fields.  They must be averaging about 10 critters on four legs per race.  If it is true that big fields are the savior for racing, why the 7% purse cut at Hawthorne recently?

I don't think Hawthorne is anywhere near a 10 horse/race average. Probably closer to 8.

As for the purse cut, well, they initially set their purse structure too high above what Arlington had been giving away and apparently business hasn't been enough to support it. But just think, if they had started out giving away what Arlington was giving away, we would be talking purse increase and it would be a big success story. It's all manipulated numbers anyhow, who is giving away what at what point. The one number that is important at the end of the year is total purses for Illinois thoroughbred racing at both tracks.
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Thomas Graham
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« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2005, 08:53:56 AM »

Actually Terry, if you use the post position stats from DRF to calculate, it's around 9 the last time I ran the number.  I'll run them again when I get the Wed, DRF.
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CLOCKERTERRY
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« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2005, 11:56:53 AM »

Actually Terry, if you use the post position stats from DRF to calculate, it's around 9 the last time I ran the number.  I'll run them again when I get the Wed, DRF.

I don't know if post position stats are exactly a right number to use but they should be sort of close. You have to back out coupled entries for one thing for the purposes of this conversation, because they aren't extra betting interests. And do the DRF stats take into account only actual starters, by backing out scratches from the post postion stats of entries?

Anyhow, I have a DRF from Nov. 9 and by that method the raw number was ~8.8. Still not the 10 Dan said. Smiley 8.6 dirt and 9.4 turf. So with no more turf will the number shink back by the end of the year? Though there sure was a lot of horses running this weekend.   
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Thomas Graham
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« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2005, 03:35:01 PM »

From what I understand, generally when a track lists it's avg. field size, they are listing horses, not betting interests because they usually generate the figure out of the racing office software that puts the program together (which pulls the info. from the Equibase charts which uses horses, not betting interests).  Of course now with most entries being uncoupled these days, there aren't a ton of races with 1 and 1a entries where both horses actually start anymore.

Now that I think of it, the numbers you listed pretty much matched what Jim Miller and Peter Gallassi had on the screen the other day during their pre-race show.

TJG
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