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What's in a time
What stock does everybody put into racing times.  I am watching Plainridge Park racing yesterday and I see in a $13,000 Open race, the winning time was an impressive 1:50.3.  At Yonkers, a $35,000 race yields a time of 1:54.3.  

Does anything give?

Does it matter?  

Track bias?

You tell me.
Seems there are plenty of variables. The speed of the track. Size of the track. The conditions. The style of the race.

Personally, I always enjoy those races when everyone is going for the lead and the first 1/4 mile is in a blistering pace. Not always the fastest race though as some of those frontrunners barely have enough to get over the finish line.
Yesterday's 4th (I think) at Monticello was proof of what you were saying.  The leader shot out and cut decent fractions (in a trot).  I think they went through 3/4 in 1:27, but this horse only had 7/8 in him.  He tired badly and was passed by several in the stretch.  The winnign time was 2:01.4, meaning the last quarter was almost 34 seconds.  

I also wonder how much the time is affected by the run-up?  At some tracks, the run-up to the starting line is significant; at others, not so much. 

At the end of the day, as long as the races are competitive and not always going to the frontrunner, it's all good.
That's another interesting thought. The run up can have an affect on the race. I'm always worried when the horse that I bet is way behind the gate and is working hard just to catch up. Not sure if that is a strategy by the driver or he was late getting his horse in position.

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