By the Terrible Tout
Jamaica decimalized its currency in the 1960s; commenced the process of metrification in 1977; and is alleged to have completed it shortly after the turn of the new millennium. Our motor vehicle speedometers are indexed in kilometres per hour; our road signs in kilometres; our petrol is sold in litres.
Words like “pounds sterling”; “shillings”; “pence”; “miles” left our vocabulary years ago except at Caymanas Park where we’re still pretending to be British. Decades after metrification we still refer to race distances in furlongs. Media analysts still convert weights to “pounds”.
Worse (despite former radio commentator Donald Thompson’s suggestion that furlong markers be changed to trees: “they’re passing the tree furlong pole”), we haven’t altered the racetrack’s topography. No distances have changed yet we act as if a one-mile race is run over 1,600 metres. It’s not. A mile (still the actual distance run) is 1,760 yards. One metre is equivalent to 1.0936 yards so that 1,760 yards (a mile) is, in fact, 1,609.4 metres.
It’s time we faced reality. If we want to run 1,600m races, we need to adjust markers currently a furlong apart (220 yards or 201.2 metres) not only vis a vis the winning post but also as between or among each other. Then drop “miles”; “furlongs” and “pounds” from racing’s vocabulary; and get with the world programme. Public commentators/analysts should lead the way. Instead of “they’re approaching the 3/16th” Spuddy could try “they’re approaching the 300” and “inside the final furlong” could become “inside the final 200”.
This will mean the Promoter needs to do the sort of detailed work that should’ve been done in the early 1990s when the track was reconstructed, namely start from scratch with new track and class records. Times need to be posted in decimals instead of fifths of a second. If we want to attract younger fans, horse racing must be brought (kicking and screaming if necessary) into the 21st century where calculations are easy and language simplified. Let’s try to be in harmony with the rest of Jamaican society.
On a sad note, racing recently lost another stalwart as Hugh Abel Levy, longstanding Attorney-at-law, Notary Public and horse racing cornerstone passed on. Hugh was a race horse owner for many decades but also served the industry in many capacities including Jockey Club President; Racing Commissioner and Director of the promoting company.
The maroon silks carried by his horses, raced under the nom-de-plume “Mr. Abel” were famous and I recall in particular Primavera, one of his higher achievers, not only on the race track but in the breeding shed.
R.I.P. Hugh. You played a good innings.
It’s time for our regular review of local performances based on REAL times.
Abbreviations: CT = “Corrected Time”; TV = “Track Variant” (a calculation of the effect of track conditions on official times to arrive at “real” or “corrected” times); TVs are in fifths of a second; “minus” means a fast track; “plus” means a slow track (e.g. -2 means fast by 2/5ths of a second). Variants beside individual horse’s names represent the difference between its official time and the grade standard.
My Way finally closed my December 8 “Clocked In” double (Papa Albert having taken $450,000 claimers apart on January 27) by demolishing $450,000 claimers over 1100m on February 14 at the disappointing price of 3/5 (4/5 on my morning line so no bet). However, January 26 Clocked-In horses Simply Outrageous (about which I wrote had “a nw3 to win” did just that on February 14 at 4/5 (decent price in all the circumstances) and 4yo Secret Traveler (“3 lengths faster than nw3/OT and good enough to win any claimer”) ran into classy 3yo Without Exception on January 27 but completed the Exacta for a $127 return on a certain one-way wager.
But the best “Clocked-in” advice came on December 8 when I wrote about Money Magnet’s November 25 effort that it was “good enough to win Graded Stakes races”. Since then she has only won 3 of her last 4 (after a fling at the Diamond Mile) losing the 4th by only half a length. Her latest win (February 17) was in graded stakes company where she defeated joint favourites Chace The Great and Houdini’s Magic, starting at 2/1 odds. Yum, Yum!
Let’s see if we can squeeze in two more days’ notes:
February 10, 2018 [TV -0.4 per 200m (Rd); -3 (str)]
Another Vigorous (-12) entered the 2,000 Guineas reckoning with a high class performance (Race 3; Imported 3yomsw; Native Bred 3yonw2; 1100m; TV-2) making all and defeating two highly regarded importees by 8 ½ lengths/2 ¼ lengths in 1:05.3! His CT (1:06.0) is already 1/5th second faster than Overnight Allowance standard and a full second faster than nw3. By Legal Process out of a mare by Kentucky Derby winner Go for Gin, it could prove dangerous to assume he won’t stay a mile. One to follow!
Major Force/Photogenic (-10 ½) were separated by a rapidly diminishing short head (Race 2; 5yonw3; 1500m; TV-3) when drawing 9½ lengths clear of the 3rd. Their joint CT (1:35.1) is competitive at 5yonw3/OT and equals the standard for $450,000 claimers. The second has his name on one of these (5yonw3).
[N.B. Photogenic, entered to run against $350,000 claimers on February 17 over 1,820m, failed to stay and seems a pure miler]
Boffo (-6) was only 2nd [beaten ½ length by Fortuneonehundred (-0)] in a mixed grade event (Race 9; $350,000 claimers/5yonw3; 1100m; TV-2) in which he appeared to be over his head but ran above himself and kept his 5yonw3 status intact while recording a CT of 1:08.2’ which is more than 4/5th second faster than that grade He shaped like a 5yonw3 over 1200m+ would be his race.
[N.B. Boffo, entered in a 5yonw3 1000m straight (a course that favours speed) on February 17 when it appeared his class might be the value bet to overcome the unsuitable trip, was instead sent off odds-on favourite so no bet. He stayed on late, finding the trip sharp, into 2nd]
February 17, 2018 [TV -0.5 per 200m (Rd); +4 (str)]
El Profesor (-10) finally got off the schneid (Race 7; 3yo maiden condition; 1300m; TV-3) making all and keeping on last 200m to beat debutante Reggae Road (- 8 ½) clocking 1:20.0! His CT (1:20.3) is 3/5th second faster than nw2 so he can win again BUT the one to take from the race is the second. His CT of 1:20.4’ is over a second faster than maiden company. He should be a cinch next time out!
Overseas Betting Opportunities (OBOs)
Top four EPL teams Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham are still in the F.A. Cup but punters looking for value in this unpredictable knockout format should consider an each way flutter on Leicester City (now 12/1) who are focused under new Manager Claude Puel and should be emotionally up for the rest of the tournament.
Saturday’s big English race is the Winter Derby at Lingfield on polytrack (10 furlongs; 3.15p.m GMT; 9.15a.m Jamaica time). Sir Michael Stoute seems to have this race under wraps with favourite and Group 3 turf winner, Autocratic, and Convey a double course and distance winner. It should be instructive, closer to the day, as to which is Ryan Moore’s choice but, for now, the value lies with backing the latter as the favourite has only raced once on the surface finishing 2nd in a maiden.
Readers’ early Cheltenham Festival portfolio already includes Copain De Classe (advised November 10 and again on January 12; Diable de Sivola (advised January 26) and Our Duke (advised February 9; Gold Cup entry). Now another early horse for the portfolio:
“Mind’s Eye [6 b.g. Stowaway – Jolene (Bob’s Return)] showed a blinding turn of foot to win maiden and novices handicap hurdles (Fairyhouse; Leopardstown) over 2 miles then 2 ½ miles before flopping back over 2 miles in a open handicap on his third run on soft. He’s another sort sure to improve for spring ground and is entered in two festival Grade 1 Novices (The Supreme over 2 miles and the Baring Bingham over 2 miles 5 furlongs). He’ll be a long shot in either as it’ll be a huge step up in class but he’s an attractive each way flutter in the latter.