The speed show we have seen this year at several venues - Mohawk, Georgian, The Meadows and Chester - makes me wonder if these tracks have been tricked up.
The biggest change appears to be at Mohawk. A few years ago there was a debate about Mohawk versus Woodbine and which track would be faster. Since Mohawk had never raced in the summer before it was a decent debate. Would Mohawk's sweeping turns be more conducive to speed? I would say most thought so. But it turned out to be not the case. Big event after big event the speed at the Hawk could not approach the speed at Woodbine.
But that appears to have changed. On several nights this meet, Mohawk has been at least one second faster than previous years, and by any estimation, just might be faster than Woodbine.
The last two years for the Breeders Crown and Canadian Pacing Derby at the Hawk: 150, 149.3 and 149.3 (all on fast tracks and nice days, with good splits)
This year: The Open Pace has gone quicker than that three times. The Open went 148.2 last week, and the Classic Series went in 148.2 to Bettor Sweet.
North America Cup? How about 150.3 and 149 flat (the Beach) the previous two years versus this year where the top four finishers paced faster 149 and the horse who came 8th by 12 (OK Bormir) paced quicker than Tell All did to win in 2007.
On these nights the track seems souped up, it makes for a good time to pad the speed stats at Mohawk.
Silent Swing, despite anyone who knows the horse would say he is nowhere close to what he was last season, lifetime mark in 149.1.
Bigtime Ball? How about 148.2, lowering his lifetime mark by a second, and he would have went faster if he had any competition.
Either all these horses have found a magic speed elixir, or Mohawk on big nights has been tricked up for speed.
We see it elsewhere as well. This season rock hard tracks at the Meadows and Chester have been making some horses flat-out airborne. For a baseline we can use the Meadowlands, which is the same old Meadowlands. The Meadowlands Pace went pace speed (with an excellent horse winning), the Haughton went about right, so did the trot stakes, so do the Open pace's.
When someone asks me right now is Mohawk faster than Woodbine? I'd have to say yes. As for the other tracks, if this holds, we are going to see more and more lifetime marks set this year, than perhaps any year before.