Top Ten Things I will Miss About the Keeneland Poly

Ceramic frog sitting on lovely dirt
Tomorrow we embark upon a new era at Keeneland; the polytrack, which replaced the dirt track, is now dirt again.  It's a melancholy time for those of us who liked betting the poly, but I'll see if I can pull it together and share my top ten things I will miss about Keeneland polytrack.

Number 10 -  Every time I wrote something about a Keeneland poly race on the blog, a dirther (guys who really, really, really like dirt) would respond "POLY SUCKS YOU IDIOT" in my comments section. I will really miss those guys.

Number 9 - Off the turf - no scratches!

Number 8 - Rider race strategy based on pace in sprints.

Number 7 - I'll miss the dirt focused TV talking head. He'll mention that speed at Keeneland sucks today because the horse who just went 45 flat to the half for six furlongs did not stagger home and hold on.

Dirthers getting ready for the meet
Number 6 - Presque Isle shippers. With just a teeny bit of form they'd show up, especially from a good barn, and pay some prices.

Number 5 - I'll miss the dude who handicapped beside me at Keeneland one day. We talked about outside speed being good, inside being no good, and that there were 2 outside speeds who fit perfectly, with good poly form and breeding who were both big odds. He bet the inside Pletcher closer who had a big dirt fig, the horse lost miserably and he exclaimed "How do people handicap this polycrap!"

Number 6 -  I'll miss the people who were totally lost when Keeneland would set handle record after handle record with the poly. They just could not seem to figure it out, because all of their friends hated it.

Man influencing youngsters to love dirt
Number 5 - Betting the top poly figs. The crowd was conditioned that "poly was inscrutable" and that speed figs "didn't work on plastic". Top poly figs had an excellent ROI because of it and you could catch some prices. 

Number 4 - I'll miss reading the blog pieces after the Derby which talked about the winner of the Blue Grass losing, and that if Keeneland switched to dirt, Blue Grass winners would be gold in the Derby. Just like those most-excellent Wood Memorial winners, Eskenedreya and I Want Revenge.

Number 3 - Big fields, big payouts.

Number 2 - I will miss my poly loving handicapping friends and the challenge of handicapping the place. We had a blast figuring out these races, some of which could take hours. When you spent so much time and effort and found a nice $30 winner, it felt like you were alive.

Number 1 - I don't care what the breakdown stats were, if it worked or not, if it was the right or wrong thing to do; all irrelevant. I will miss the fact that at least it was racing trying to think forward - to change the way the sport is run, and raced. When horse racing thinks like that, I feel they are moving a sport in much need of it, ahead. When they reverse course, rather than pivot, I can't help but feel they're giving up.

I am no dirther or plasticer, or whatever you want to call it. I will be playing Keeneland tomorrow. I hope the track plays fair, the racing is good, and the horses and their human attachments have a safe first run over the new track.

Good luck and good racing tomorrow everyone.

(PS: I'd like to thank o_crunk for coining the term dirther. He's very creative. Most people who still own a turntable are).


ron said...

I do agree about the handle. I have no idea how they were setting handle records other than off the turf races still having decent fields i guess. I didn't know a single person who liked Keenelands poly , but obviously someone did.

Kevin and Xiaochun said...

Abandoning synthetic surfaces resembles the fundamental political differences between progressives (Democrats) and regressives (republikkklans). Keeneland returning to dirt makes me feel like racing is run by republikkklans (it is, they're rich and greedy), and we all can see how that turns out in Washington. Horse racing is a huge anachronism, and the forces arrayed against progress will continue to act regressively until there is nothing left. The lust of greed is endless and insidious, and those so infected have no incentive to stop or change nor can they. I play Golden Gate, Presque Isle and especially Woodbine, where the racing is very good. But for the small minded fools who hail the return to lethal dirt, they will be crying in their beers once the equine catastrophes resume. But no one who can do anything to change it will care and nothing will get done. Here comes PETA, and they're ready this time.

Pull the Pocket said...


I might've helped. It was my number one meet for quite awhile now. :)

Good luck if you're playing tomorrow


kyle said...

I consider myself an expert on SDS(Synthetic Derangement Syndrome). For posterity, here are its greatest hits: Beyer's seminal rant after the 2007 Blue Grass; The feverish, deluded Zenyatta-Rachel Debate; The utter regression from logic to infantilism caused by 2010 Dubai World Cup. I always found it puzzling, this ailment, as it afflicted many who claim to consider this a game and themselves gamblers. I guess they will be happy now that five and six horse fields are back at Keeneland, and with it the comforting knowledge that the thrill of getting to compute the figure for another Sinister Minister is only one good rail away.


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