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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"The Call" (One More Time)

I as much as anyone else would rather talk about something else and I am not trying to defend my thoughts of The Red Mile disqualification on Saturday evening or the judges' decision.  My hope is to show how calling this type of infraction is not as simple as some people think it is.  

I went to a source who has driving experience to tell me about the interpretation of the rule regarding causing confusion behind.  Basically, what I have confirmed is it is very subjective. As this individual said:

The nuance is that to measure the pace of any portion of the race by the time of a quarter mile is a mistake and misleading. You can make the lead, cross over and take up sharply for two steps and cause confusion.  

So on the plus side, it confirms my thinking that looking at quarter times means nothing; it is what happens at a particular point in the race that matters.  A good analogy would be your heart rate.  Your heart may go seventy beats per minute which is normal for you, but during the period of time it took to get your heart rate, your heart may have skipped a beat or two.  The number itself doesn't tell you that your heart skipped a beat; it is watching your heart rate using an EKG machine which detects that.

But to show you how hard it is to interpret this rule, take a look at this year's Ben Franklin Pace (which was recommended to me to demonstrate the individual's assertion) and notice what happens as the field goes just past the half (if you want to save some time, start the video at the 1:08 mark):

What you will see is Betterthancheddar finally taking over the lead from We Will See.  If you look at the legs of Betterthancheddar just after he clears, you will notice his legs slowing down noticeably.  As a result, We Will See Slowed Up and Meirs Hanover gets jammed up and runs into We Will See, going off-stride. To me this was a clearer example of causing confusion but the Pocono Downs judges didn't disqualify the race winner. 

Now you may want to say if Betterthancheddar wasn't disqualified, how could they take down Odds On Equuleus; after all his gait change (if any) was hard to detect?  Unfortunately, you can't.  It is how the judges interprets and applies the rule.  It is like baseball's home plate umpires; all are supposed to use the same strike zone, but each ump have their own peculiarities regarding it; the best you can hope for is the umpire remains consistent in his calls.

For this reason, I wouldn't be surprised if the judges' decision on Saturday night is upheld in the upcoming hearing.  As long as the judges can explain how they came to their decision, it will be hard for anyone to overturn the ruling. 

Lexington Sale Breaks the Mold?  Last night the yearling sales in Lexington got under way and thanks to the appearance of the Muscle HIlls, the sale showed a solid improvement over last year.  Of course, now that day two arrives, it will be interesting to see if the trend continues or if the industry maliase resumes.. 


Anonymous said...

It is my belief Sears accelerated as much if not more than Campbell slowed. Sears was gearing up to go first over and veered back in slowing abruptly running up on YG and causing confusion behind him. In my opinion it is not a case of Sears merely running up YG's back from inattention or inability to control. He purposefully accelerated and then slowed abruptly.

Pacingguy said...

It will be up to the hearing officer to make the ultimate decision. All I will say at this point is the judges saw it differently. They talked to the drivers involved, I didn't.

That being said, I certainly understand where you would come to your conclusion.

Scott Jeffreys said...

Dear Pacingguy : Let me say that I completely respect the treatment that you have given this entire topic, your research with outside resources, and comparatives against similar race situations. While we have drawn different conclusions in this discussion, your efforts and presentation should not go unnoticed by your blog readers.

Sincerely, Scott

edge1124 said...

I agree...Sears was the issue here. Had he pulled or stayed there would not have been any interference like the BetterThanCheddar race. He pulled out, realized his horse did not have the quick turn of foot so dropped back in but that messed up a couple horses behind him. Yes, I see BTC's legs slow down and strides shorten....ODDS ON did not shorten his strides, it was a great rating by Campbell and a bad drive by Sears. I still bet a FIN that it will be overturned!!