Maywood Park is experimenting with a "Quick Start" where the starter is releasing the field roughly 175 feet before the start of the race in the hope of giving outside horses a better chance to get involved in the race. According to Maywood's own press release, the quick start has increased the frequency of the seven and eight horse being involved in the trifecta. While Maywood should be applauded for attempting to do something to mix things up and give the outside horses a better chance to win, it does raise some concerns.
By releasing the field 175 feet before the start, the field is actually racing .03 miles more even though the timer doesn't start before the field reaches the starting line. Granted it is not a big difference, but since the field is released earlier, horses have the potential of racing faster at the start of the race than they can at other half mile ovals which may result in faster miles. It is one thing if horses race only at one track, but since horses can race at different tracks, is it putting handicappers at other tracks at a disadvantage when one of these horses show up at their local track?
The quick start raises other questions. Should the race be denoted in the past performances as being approximately one mile? If listed as approximately a mile, should the timer be started earlier to include the additional distance? In the event a race goes in a world record time, should it be recorded as such? To avoid dealing with such issues, racing officials should quickly assess if giving the horses an extra 175 feet of straightway at the start is a true benefit and if so, reconfigure the track to move the starting pole/finish line up the stretch 175 feet so the race start and timer sync up.