I wrote a post a while ago about what you can learn from a harness horse. Well, I don’t just play the harness races and greyhound races. I also dabble in thoroughbred races with the help of my friend, Bill Peterson. If you haven’t read his books, I recommend that you give them a look. I’ve learned a lot from them and from Bill.
We were at OTB the other day, playing a couple of warm weather tracks, mostly in my case so that I could look at palm trees and green grass and people walking around with shorts and t shirts on, instead of looking at snow and people bundled up like snowmobilers. Bill, on the other hand, was there to make some money. He’s a serious guy when he’s playing the horses.
Anyhow, I spotted a horse in the program that I thought really stood out and showed it to Bill. It had class and back speed and the best speed at the distance by a lot in that race. I was ready to put a few bucks on its nose when Bill drew my attention to something. The age of the horse.
It was 9 and hadn’t approached its best speed in any of the races we could see on the extended program, which showed its last two years of racing. It also hadn’t won in two years and the year before had one win out of 32 races.
“It was probably a lot younger when it got that Best Speed at Distance,” Bill told me, “You have to look at their age and when they got the top ratings that they have in the program.”
After that, I scrutinized every horse for age before I got excited about any top rating it had gotten. I was glad I hadn’t bet on that 9 yr old, when it faded from mid pack to run last over the finish line.
How does this apply to dogs? Well, a lot of greyhound programs give the best time of the dog and it can be helpful. But if you’re going to use it to determine how the dog stacks up against the other dogs vis a vis time, make sure that the dog got it within the last few months and that the dog isn’t over 3 and a half. That’s about the optimum age for a greyhound to peak, although some peak younger during their second year.
Speed and times are important in both horse and dog racing, but you have to make sure that you’re getting the latest report on how fast the horse or dog might run, not yesterday’s news.