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Horse Racing Wagering System:
The Food Payers Of Horse Racing
Beginner's Luck At The Racetrack
Backward Is Forward In Racing Systems
The Good Old Summer Time At The Track
Came The Rains - And Disaster At The Racetrack
Cheap Horses Are Expensive
Females Are Unreliable In Horse Racing
The Long Trail Of Horse Racing
When Is The Trainer Trying With His Horses
Three Old Reliable Horses
More Horse Racing Tips
( Originally Published mid 1950's )
When the track is fast, there is only one problem. That is to make sure that a horse is not strictly a mudlark-that he didn't win all of his races on so-called "off" or wet tracks.
At this point, it is advisable to point out to the beginner how to identify these off tracks in the past performances. In the racing paper this information is contained in the third column, reading from the left, directly after the date and the name of the track.
"Fst" signifies the track was fast on that day, "sly" means sloppy, "my" is muddy, "Hy" is heavy, "Gd" is good, "SF is slow.
A track may become sloppy soon after rain starts to come down. But even though puddles form on the surface of the track, the ground remains firm until such time as enough water seeps through for it to become muddy.
The track might remain muddy for two or three days, or longer if rain continues. When it starts to dry out, it becomes heavy. When it dries out enough so that it is no longer sticky, it becomes slow. When it dries out still more, it becomes good.
As a racing handicapper, the writer considered the question of off tracks so important that he kept separate records on the performances of every horse on each of the various types of off tracks. However, this is too much work for the novice and is not really necessary.
Due to limitations of space, frequently there is no indication in a horse's past performances as to his mudrunning ability.
To guide the race-goer in such a dilemma, the racing papers place various kinds of stars in a circle directly in front of a horse's name at the top of his past perform ances. In a general way these markings are supposed to indicate a horse's mud-running abilities, but the writer doubts that they will be of much aid to the beginner.
In connection with the stars to indicate good mudders, one of the writer's favorite racing anecdotes concerns the old New Hampshire lady who didn't become interested in racing until after she became a grandmother.
What the old lady knew about past performances could have been written on the head of a pin, but she did remember someone telling her that a horse with a solid black star in front of his name would be a sure winner if by chance the track should be wet. (At least "wet" was the way the old lady remembered the advice.) So the old lady hied herself to Rockingham Park but didn't happen to notice when the water-sprinkler chanced to be driven over the track. The sun was shining brightly, but when she noticed that the track was "wet," she immediately marked all the black-star horses on her program.
So what happened? The track was as fast as could be, but all the black-star horses, who hadn't won on a fast track in a blue moon, came in and paid box-car prices. Any kind of a track which is not fast is known as an "off" track. Regarding "slow," "Good," and "sloppy" tracks, the writer, after checking thousands and thousands of races, has found no serious objection to them.
A race-goer could play on a "muddy" or a "heavy" track in most cases if he were absolutely sure of what he was doing; that is, if he were certain that some horse was a good mudder or if he knew that the steed's sire was a mudlark. But except at a few tracks where due to the unusual composition of the soil and good drainage facilities, horses actually make as good time on an "off" track as they do on a fast track, we will avoid "muddy" or "heavy" tracks.
Likewise, except for these few tracks, we will eliminate most horses that ran their last race on a muddy or heavy track, on the theory that a race in rough going takes too much out of a steed to enable him to be at his best in his next start.