BETTING SYNTHETIC SURFACES
Conquering Racing’s Newest Frontier
By Bill Finley
Publisher: DRF Press—September 2008
It’s a new and challenging era in American racing. The installation of the new synthetic racing surfaces at several North American racetracks has created a variety of new handicapping riddles, which have left even the most seasoned and expert players scratching their heads searching for orderliness and answers.
Synthetic surfaces are already in place at major racetracks such as Arlington Park, Del Mar, Hollywood Park, and Keeneland, and for the first time ever, the Breeders’ Cup will be run over a synthetic surface at Santa Anita in October 2008. And while the new surfaces may seem strange and perplexing to horseplayers, veteran racing writer and handicapper Bill Finley tells us how to cope—and profit—in Betting Synthetic Surfaces.
What impact are theses new surfaces having? How will they affect Thoroughbred owners, breeders, trainers, jockeys—and the horses themselves? What new handicapping challenges have they created for even the most hardened horseplayers?
Finley is the first author to tackle all of the necessary handicapping adjustments and angles. The good news is that these new tracks might not be quite as difficult to decipher as many people feared. While the fundamentals of basic handicapping still apply, synthetic tracks definitely have their own nuances and quirks, and Finley examines them in detail. His thorough research and expertly outlined statistical data, gathered from thousands of races, arms the handicapper with a much better understanding on how to wager and win in the synthetic-surface era. He describes the differences among various brands of surfaces in relation to track biases, running styles, pedigrees and sire lines, the “bounce” factor, and horses making surface switches: synthetic to dirt, dirt to synthetic, turf to synthetic, etc. The modern handicapper cannot afford to ignore the synthetic revolution.
Read an excerpt from Betting Synthetic Surfaces, Sponsored by Case the Race:
Betting Synthetic Surfaces Book Excerpt
PRAISE FOR BETTING SYNTHETIC SURFACES
“Leave it to one of America’s most experienced racing journalists to be the first
to tackle the synthetic revolution in an honest and informative way. Bill Finley’s
statistical analysis and interviews with racing insiders about the sport’s newest
surfaces will benefit all horseplayers—and especially those intimidated by
Polytrack, Cushion Track, or Tapeta. Finley proves that new doesn’t have to be
Thoroughbred-racing analyst for ESPN and ABC, and creator of Moss Pace Figures
About The Author
Bill Finley has been covering horse racing since shortly after his graduation from Tufts University in 1983. He began his writing career with Daily Racing Form covering Monmouth Park and later wrote about the horses for the New York Post and the New York Daily News. He has been to every Kentucky Derby since 1986 and has visited 67 racetracks in North America alone. In 2000, Finley left the Daily News after 12 years to write for ESPN.com. Since, he has branched out and is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, co-hosts a horse racing radio show on Sirius and contributes his time to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. He has received numerous awards for his writing and he teamed with Dave Johnson to win a 2005 Eclipse Award for their radio coverage of the Breeders' Cup on Sirius. He lives in Fair Haven, New Jersey, just six miles from the backstretch gates of Monmouth Park.