Since Hollywood Park has begun their long 66 day spring/summer meet,
this is a perfect time to see what, if anything, we as players can do
whenever we begin a new meet.
paid attention to what I did first when going to Friday’s opening card
4/20/01 and that was to go to the running profiles for this exact same
meet a year ago. Since these running profiles have always been standard
fare in my weekly SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA HORSES TO WATCH,
I had them in front of me in a heartbeat.
put up the tallies from that 2000 completed meet on each of Friday’s
races so I had a starting point and an overall view of what happened
last year. One thing that I quickly noticed when perusing this completed
chart from last year, was the 6 ½ furlong distance where 30 of 43 races
were won by horses who were either leading at the 2nd running
call or dueling within a half length of the pacesetter. That’s 69.77%
won by very “early” horses. And unless one sees
differently at the beginning of this meet or any meet where past “stats”
like these exist, it might be reasonable to assume this trend will continue.
Perhaps not with such a strong aberration, but why fight
the obvious if the obvious is still obvious?
another way, pay attention to what is happening from day to day, even
if you don’t have last year’s running profiles. If your track is decidedly
“early” as is Hollywood Park, play what you see----if favoring
“closers” or horses who are 6 or more lengths behind at the 2nd
running call, go with what you see!
with running profiles, of course, are running biases or most favorable
“paths”. For years, the inside at Hollywood Park had been brutally
user-UNfriendly! With some recent renovations,
it has become a bit better, but it surely wouldn’t be where I would
go if I had my “druthers”! The 3-4 paths were very good to me at this
meet last year in sprints and routes. Do you recall what happened at
your track if not the same as mine? Were there any favorable “paths”
that ruled supreme or gave a decided edge to those who could see them?
jockeys, owners and trainers gear up for this specific
spring/summer meet is a tricky one because many of the better
trainers are merely “tuning up” their horses up
for the prestigious Del Mar meet that immediately follows. This happens
as well back in New York before the Saratoga meet begins and most likely
before Gulfstream too.
better know how to separate the “wheat from the chaff” at the beginning
of specific meets, to include not only trainers, but owners and jockeys
as well. At this Hollywood meet as we near midpoint in late May/early
June, the big barns will give their stock a “breather” and/or ship
them early to Del Mar to take advantage of positively pristine
air and visually stimulating surroundings.
horses usually excel at first asking over the seaside oval no matter
what level of competition. How can they NOT improve?
Gone are the 747s over their heads every 30 seconds as
Hollywood’s backstretch is directly under the landing path to LAX and
the planes are no more than at 1500 to 2000 feet when “buzzing the barns”
non-stop. Gone is the heavily polluted L.A. basin air,
replaced by gentle sea breeze from the gorgeous Pacific Ocean located
a mere 300 yards away.
point is, horses who get there early, acclimate much better
than do day-shippers. If you know who is who, you gain an edge----a
scenario also goes on at Saratoga as the horses get away from polluted
New York and the major meet at Gulfstream, where “winter” is a good
word and the surroundings more than pleasant.
are a strange lot in California. Most see Del Mar as a “social” gathering
rather than business. Trainers have told me countless times over the
years that some owners almost refuse to allows their horses to run at
Hollywood in hopes of running more than once during Del Mar’s shortened
7 week extravaganza. The more they can run their horses at Del Mar,
the more they can be “seen” by the balance of the “water cress crowd”!
must also go on at Saratoga and Gulfstream, at least to some degree
as well as at other ovals. How this “holding back” affects your handicapping
depends on too many factors to go into here. Just be aware that it
does go on!
need to go into a jockey dissertation here. Hardcore players everywhere
know that there are specific tracks where certain jockeys excel and
other seem to slump. If you’re not aware of this jockey pattern on
your own circuit, you better get the old charts out and find out!
of us know about “horses for courses” and simply put,
some runners prefer one dirt track or one turf course over another.
Do you have a list of “ready runners” from the old meet
where a “horse for this upcoming course” appeared to be
merely “prepping” over the closing meet’s surface(s). This is done,
of course, in anticipation of an all-out effort in his
first start over his most-favored course in the opening days of that
new meet? Lists of this nature are invaluable
for a good mutuel start!
weather patterns can affect new meets. As we move into Hollywood’s
2001 spring/summer meet, rain becomes a non-factor because it rarely
rains from May to December on the Southern California circuit. But
if you play Saratoga’s new meet this year, you might want to bring along
any pedigree books you have for wet, sloppy, muddy and/or drying out
you’re going into a new “night racing” meet such as the one at the Meadowlands
in the fall, be cognizant of the fact that some horses run better at
night and many “daytime” stars won’t pick up a
hoof in darkness.
meets always necessitate a long cold and hard look at what trainers
are hot at the moment as the old meet closes. If on “fire”,
don’t necessarily think that they can go on like this at full tilt forever.
Hot barns can get very “cold” almost overnight. If a barn has “used
up” all their ammunition towards the end of an old meet (perhaps trying
to win a training title), there’s a good chance the stable will turn
to ice at the new meet. All horses need a “breather”, even the best
hope I’ve given you food for thought, as the beginning of any new meet
is a tricky spot for all handicappers.
you get off to a bad start, you’re chasing your own money from day one.
But by paying attention to the above suggestions, you’ll be miles ahead
of your competition and most likely “in the black” from the bell!