Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cooling Off

On July 31, 2011 supertrainer Lou Pena was given the boot from Yonkers Raceway.  Sometimes in this type situation a trainer may "cool off", other times they keep right on winning. I figured I would look at a few numbers to see what happened this time.

At Yonkers, before he was sent packing, his numbers were pretty remarkable.

He had 242 wins and sported a 39% win percentage. His "UTRS", or batting average, was a super-duper 0.535. Off the claim he was 18 for 26 (no not a typo) in 2011, for a 69% win rate.

Since Lou cannot (officially) race at Yonkers any longer, I figured I would look at his two main stomping grounds since the Yonkers ban, to see what's been happening. Has he cooled off, or is he humming right along?

At Pocono, where he seems to be hanging his hat most now, his stats are very un-Pena like.

Since August 1st he sports 122 trips to the gate, with 20 winners, yielding a 17% win percentage. His UTRS is 0.296, about average for an everyday stable. He has claimed six horses since August 1st, winning one, for a 16.7% win percentage. Before August 1st at Pocono he had a 37% win percentage and claimed 10 horses, winning with 7 of them for a 70% hit rate.

At Chester, where he is also doing some racing, the numbers are near identical, pre and post ban (0.450UTRS before August 1st and 0.440 after), with 2/2 versus 2/4 off claim numbers.

When you add the numbers together, it is clear there is some cooling off going on. It'll be interesting to see what develops, if anything, with this story.

Notes:

I mentioned I was surprised to see Peelers entered in the Breeders Crown off that poor qualifier. I asked the press if they might ask Takter if he zipped her in a training mile which told him she was better, because that was (I thought) an explanation that might make some sense.

I shoulda known better: Kathy at harnessracing.com was probably already on the case - "Trainer Jimmy Takter told harnessracing.com Wednesday morning that it was a “last-minute decision” to enter See You At Peelers in Saturday night’s Breeders Crown eliminations at Woodbine Racetrack, and he did so only after the 3-year-old filly pacer went an “awesome” training mile at his New Jersey farm early Tuesday morning."

I hope she's back, and I don't expect handicappers to give much to the "she's short" excuse if she loses. With a 54.1 qualifier, a training track zip, and a 151 mile two weeks ago, she should be more than fine. Takter's horses are almost never short.

I was reading harnesseye, and the "bounce" is back! Even after it was reported that Peelers was ill (and has been for some time before and after the Meadows race) and long ago it was known Big Jim had ankle issues that flared up after every start causing his early retirement, Capper Bob has stuck to the nasty-ass bounce theory for their performances.

"Three-year-old filly See You At Peelers had the first tough trip of her career at the Meadows recently, then was all-out against a much weaker field at Tioga last Sunday (September 4) and was disqualified when she lugged in and caused interference. Yes, even a win machine like See You At Peelers can bounce. I knew she would bounce but I still thought she'd win at Tioga, since it was a weak field."

"If you examine the career past performances of the now retired Big Jim, you can see that every time he went a big mile, be it a winning or losing effort, in his next start he bounced and went considerably slower. And Big Jim was a big, strong colt. If he bounced, you better believe that smaller horses and fillies are even more apt to bounce."

Oh my head. It appears that every sick horse and every lame horse that races bad "bounced". Someone should call the vets and tell them horse's don't need injections, cryo's, medications or anti-biotics when they are sick and lame, they just need an extra few days to recover so they don't "bounce". It sure would save us a boatload of money as horse owners. The bounce theory does have a place in harness racing, but using Peelers and Big Jim as examples of it, is ridiculous.

Want a free look at the early PP's for the Crown elims Friday and Saturday?

Speaking of the Harness Eye, despite the bounce stuff, there is a hell of a lot of good 'capping info on that site. Derrick's look at HOY is pretty good, and Bob's stuff is usually worth a look.

Enman is back on Twitter. The Woodbine/Mohawk/Greenwood and sometimes Hiawatha or whereeverthehellthereisatrack dude has tried a new name . @doubleplayball.

Have a good evening everyone.

1 comment:

Yeah That Guy said...

Food for thought...

Let us assume that Jeff Gural's comments about the testing in New York being sub-optimal, at least compared to those in Pennsylvania. Now take a look at Pena's stats between the two states.

In my opinion this is just more anecdotal evidence that the testing in New York is pretty much a joke, and it won't get better as long as Faraldo is in control. And I say that because we all know that he is in control.