So hello to all out there in horseland. It's getting exciting, getting closer to the first Saturday in May! Now like I alluded to last week, time only counts when you are doing it, except for Derby week with all eyes on the cream of the 3yo crop. You know you've got all kinds of media and hoopla, so you better know exactly what horse is on the Churchill Downs main track no matter what time of the morning it is, you better know exactly how fast they worked and you better get the distance of the work right because everyone in the world, if they don't bet on another race all year, will be putting some money on one of the Derby 20! So of course we all take from that that things always go that way and morning work out times are a factor in our secret handicapping voodoo. Well who do the voodoo that you do best? Nobody! At least we think we do.
Let's go back a few years, we are on the Oklahoma turf track for the turf works. It's become quite the spectacle! Actually, it's late in the morning so all the hung over frat boys with the pulled up collars and the bloodshot eyes can actually see a horse train then have something to lie about at the evening soirée to impress Buffy and Muffy.
Anyway, we've got two fillies working on the turf, our trainer Barclay Tagg is on his pony at the finish line watching his two charges roll into a work at the ½ mile pole. Now mind you, his riders wear fluorescent orange vests over their gear so they are easiest to spot on a crowded track. (Linda Race’s riders wear fluorescent lime green and so on and so forth). It's so the clockers know which horses are breezing! The two fillies come across the wire and Barclay yells to me (maybe you’ve heard he has a great voice), "What did they (the clockers) catch those two in?"
I'm standing under the clocker's stand and look up “What were the times for the Tagg Team?”, I ask.
“Tagg team? What Tagg had horses working?” (shuffling papers, sweat start to appear on the brows) The two of them nervously muttering amongst themselves. “Yeah OK we got them in 48 and 2 how does that sound?"
I yell out to Barclay, “48 and 2 sound good?”
He shakes his head mutters a Barclay utterance at the pony (if that pony could talk) and yells back “I got them shaving 48, close enough”
I look up and say, “We’re good” shaking my head (I'm like are you kidding me?).
So as you can see published works are not an exact science and leaves a lot to the imagination. So my advice to you is, if a day to day horse works on a weekly basis or has a regular work schedule then you are good. If you are living and dying by published breeze times then it's exactly that, with a little more dying then living.
That's it for this week. Good Luck to Cliffs of Dover on Sunday (all slow works) and welcome back Alabama Bound to New York! Get ready for a very exciting Derby starting off with our Derby Party on the 5th, First round’s on me! Cheers!