Thursday, June 21, 2007

Some Like It Hot

A few days back a comment from gerry raised the question about temperature and it's impact on racing. Do horses have temperature preferences and why isn't the temperature of the races recorded?

The simple answer is yes, the temperature definitely does affect some horses. As with every other factor like distance, race track and track condition some horses are affected more than others. Some horses simply adapt very well and warm weather is not going to bother them. Being natural cold weather animals horses are not likely to be adversely affected by cool temperatures, what will affect them is heat. However horses are individuals and there is no way you can make a statement across the board like all horses will like this and not be affected by that.

The phenomenon can already be observed with certain horses. Funny Cide is a well documented case of a horse who supposedly prefers cool weather. Evening Attire has always done better in the fall and winter than he has in the summer. There would be many other cases as well if you took the time to observe them.

Pomeroy actually appears to favor hot weather. In his 18 career races (including his run in last year's Breeders Cup Sprint) he has run 11 races from June to September and his record in those races is 11-7-3-1. Incidentally his third place finish was actually a win where he was disqualified to third. His record in races run in all other months is 7-0-1-1. To me that seems like temperature is a big factor to him. We don't actually know how hot it was on those occasions but he certainly did much better in the summer months.

I'm of the opinion that the Racing Form leaves out a few things that it shouldn't. Temperature is one of them. Although it would take up more space on an already crowded form line I think the temperature should be recorded because it's part of the puzzle for many horses.

Another bit of information I'd add is the weight of each horse for each race. This would present more difficulties logistically but they already do it in Hong Kong so obviously there is a method that can be worked out efficiently.

Also when are they going to start using a penetrometer for the Turf courses? Europeans use them and I really don't see any justification for failing to use them. How soft is soft? When is a track really yielding as supposed to good? The penetrometer gives a numerical rating for any surface it's jabbed into so one could accurately assess the firmness of the ground and it would be uniform nation wide.


Anonymous said...

good post with good examples presented // evening attire was always a favorite of mine, and, in retrospect, he did seem to perform better later in the year // i don't have his pp's in front of me but i think he threw in a shocker last december by winning a stakes race in NY , at an old age and at great price// the daily racing form should post temperatures // now to some, temperatures might be a minor thing, but hey, if it leads to success and a good score at the window, it can be as good as some of the angles that gets bantered about // if he/she wants to be thorough, the handicapper couldl look at this factor especially during the summer because, as KC has properly indicated, a horse is naturally a cold weather animal// some horses just seem to melt in the heat of a long hot summer ////// the information concerning the publishing of a horses weight and the use of a penetrometer is interesting// i was unaware these things were being used in foreign racing // some foreign practices, might help the ordinary U.S. racing fan // thanks / chicago gerry

Anonymous said...

i am looking forward to the queen's plate on sunday because i think it could turn out to be a good betters and racing fan's race although i would have liked to have seen more starters // i was wondering why the number of starters is down for this race // i haven't seen any past performances on the queens plate, but i was wondering what the average winning beyers is for the race / also, it is my understanding that the jockey for the favorite, jiggs coz, is getting some heat from the press for a traffic DUI death // i was wondering if that is going to affect his ride on sunday// i was wondering what his (Clark's) win-place-show percentages has been this past 10 days or so // it is my understanding that leonateus anteas had a heat related problem after a sizzling 1 mile workout the other day // i was wondering if he has recovered, and what the temperature is expected to be on sunday/ as of this writing, i am inclined to go with leonateus anteas and/or especially pletcher's colt, twilight agenda // this might change as i gather more information about the race // thanks// chicago gerry

Anonymous said...

a correction to a previous post / i wrote twilight agenda and i should have written twilight meteor // // i was thinking about the queens plate and did a little research on Izvestia / Izvestia won the queens plate in 1990 and holds the record time for the 1 1/4 mile race going back to 1957 // i actually saw the race in which he broke a leg and had to be put down in 1991 and one felt bad for him // my recollection was that it was a turf race and it was to have been his last race before being retired // i believe he was 4 yrs old// he was an exceptional horse and i believe he may have won the Canadian Triple Crown // // i could not find the information, but i was wondering whether or not any of this year's queens plate contenders had any of Izvestia's ancestry // i saw that L A had some With Approval in his breeding // i believe With Approval also won this race // thanks // chicago gerry

Anonymous said...

while thinking about Izestia, i tried to recall other great thoroughbreds, that i have personally seen break down and i came up with Barbaro and Go For Wand // Go For Wand's break down for some reason touched the heart strings the most // one thing was, as thoroughbreds are want to do, Go For Wand kept on trying to run even as she was severely injured // all this made me wonder about break down rates // my guess is, percentage wise, it is safer for a human being to get in a car and/or especially an airplane, than it is for a thoroughbred to run a race // thanks / chicago gerry