By Cangamble (also posted on Cangamble's Blog)
Renee Kierans deals with an interesting yet obvious question on her latest post on the Woodbine blog site, "Is First Time Gelding Information That Important?"
I wondered about this question over 25 years ago. And it still hasn't been dealt with.
To me, it is a gimme. Outfits geld horses for two main reasons: so that the horse might just run faster and/or so that the horse might keep his mind on his business (which makes the horse easier to train, and therefore the horse may run faster in races).
I'm assuming that gelding horses does achieve the goals above in at least many instances, or it wouldn't be a common practice. That being said, it has to be pertinent information that needs to be published. Why publish gelding information at all if it wasn't important?
New gelding information should be reported to Equibase within a couple of days of the operation. Equibase could put the info and date under the last running line or on top of the last running line.
Gelding information isn't the only thing that shouldn't be hid from horseplayers either. I know there is a practice that is pretty widespread (or used to be) that had to do with the throat on horses who had breathing problems. From what I understand (and I'm far from being a vet), some sort of hole is made in the throat.
Anyway, this is something else that should be reported to the betting public and also potential new owners who are looking to claim horses.
And why stop there? I think any vet procedure that costs over $200-$250 should be reported. We know when a baseball player has any type of procedure. Why should horse racing get off so light, especially when every horse is one bad step away from becoming worthless as a runner.
Wind Speed During Races
Why is wind speed not recorded and placed in the Form? How hard would that be? The chart caller just needs to check on one more thing before he or she submit the chart.
It wouldn't even take up much room. A backstretch wind of 20 mph could be reduced to b20, while a homestretch wind of 20 mph can be reduced to h20.
Wind speed once it gets over 15 mph is significant when dealing with pace breakdowns and final times. It should have been implemented into the Racing Form a half a century ago.
UPDATE: Update: Greg Blanchard likes the wind idea too. Check out his column at the WEG Blog Site.
I also want to add why wind speed is important. When horses face a strong wind in their face in the homestretch, it makes it tougher to close ground. The opposite is true when the wind is behind the horse in the homestretch, the advantage then shifts to closers.