Archive for the Distance Category

Jul 26 2013

Stretching Out And The Sprint Closer Paradox

In a prior article we explained that Sprints are short races (less than 1 mile) and Routes are long races (1 mile or more).  We also opined that some horses are better suited to run in Sprints while others prefer a Route of ground.  Frequently you will come upon a horse that has been running in Sprint races and is now stretching out for the first time in a Route race.  You look at the Past Performances (PPs) and find in her Sprint races she has been steadily gaining ground at the end, but often falling short.  You surmise (enter the Paradox) that “if she only had a little more ground” she would eventually catch the leaders and win the race.  So when she is finally entered in a Route race, you think “Aha, perfect … this horse is going to win for sure.”  Unfortunately, many times you will be wrong. Hence, completion of the paradox. Two examples follow. Read More >>

Apr 22 2013

Other Turf Courses

In the prior post we looked at the two turf courses at Saratoga.  Now we’ll look at a few other interesting turf courses in North America.  Below is a diagram of the Widener (Outer) turf course at Belmont Park.


Apr 20 2013

Saratoga Turf Courses

Saratoga is a Race Track that has two turf courses located inside of the Main Dirt track.  The outer turf course is officially known as the Mellon Turf Course, in honor of the Mellon family (whose members were prominent owners and breeders in the Thoroughbred industry).  The inner turf course is located directly inside of the Mellon Turf Course.  As far as turf courses go, it is pretty straight-forward with no chutes or extensions like turf courses at some other race tracks.

The following diagram highlights the Mellon Turf course (in light green) and includes the location of the starting gate (in a box) for each distance from 5f to 9.5f.

Apr 18 2013

From Furlongs to Ovals – More Racetracks and Stretch Run Variations

In a prior article we looked primarily at the Saratoga and Belmont main tracks. Click here to read the article From Furlongs to Ovals (How Distances Vary by Racetrack).  Now we’ll look at a few other tracks in North America, and show a comparison chart of the oval size and stretch run distances for the most popular tracks.

First there is Aqueduct, located in New York State.

Apr 16 2013

From Furlongs to Ovals – How Distances Vary by Racetrack

In an earlier article (What’s a Furlong?) we defined the standard measure of distance in Horse Racing as a furlong.  But, how does that furlong translate into races on an actual race track?  The first thing you have to realize is that it varies by race track.  While the vast majority of race tracks in North America are oval in shape, they are not all the same size, nor the same configuration.  It’s kind of like the difference in Major League Baseball parks.  Some have a short fence, while others have a big green wall.  The number of feet to left, center, and right fields vary.  Some ballparks have grass, while others have artificial turf.  Many similar variations occur in horse racing.

Apr 7 2013

What’s a Furlong?

The standard unit of measure for distance in horse racing is a furlong.

One furlong equals 1/8 of a mile.

Or, put another way, there are 8 furlongs in a mile.  Races under one mile are expressed in terms of the number of furlongs.  For example, a race that measures 3/4 of a mile, is listed as being 6 furlongs in the racing program.  The following diagram demonstrates the translation from furlongs to fraction of a mile.