Today, we will answer two questions sent to us by Jeff.
Jeff asked, “Do dramatic changes in weather, particularly bitter cold, affect a dog’s performance?”
I have found that cold weather does not make a difference when attempting to handicap a greyhound’s performance. I trained dogs in Colorado on a couple of occasions and did not see any difference in the performance when running in cold weather. The weather can be a huge factor in rainy weather, however. Many times the rail can be puddled up because the bank of the track can cause the water to drain to the rail. As in thoroughbred racing, some greyhounds do not react well to running in mud and some do not mind. The only way to find that out is to go back and find their form on a wet track. Speed usually does better in the mud, as they do not get mud in their faces or body. The general accepted rule of thumb is to give the wide running, larger, speed dogs an advantage on a muddy track.
Jeff then asked, “What things do you consider when handicapping a race with runners coming off of longer/shorter distances in their most recent competition?”
There are a few things to consider here. If a greyhound is running a distance race after sprinting, there are two things to keep in mind. If it is the first ever try at the middle distance from sprinting (and no schooling race), I would be very hesitant to play that greyhound. The dog is used to a certain look and can become confused and get into trouble by hesitating, if only slightly. On the other hand, if the dog has been sprinting and is returning to the middle distance, that would be a plus for me as the dog is well rested and should break sharply and run their best race.
If a dog is going to sprints from middle distance, you can expect that the dog will not show as much early speed as they did in distance because they are used to running longer, and they are now running against dogs that are faster early. My theory was to always use these type of dogs on the bottom of the ticket and not key them, as I usually like to key dogs who are going to be on or near the lead. One caveat would be a top sprinter who tried the longer races a few times and is now returning to their favorite distance. This could be a positive, as the hound may have a little more bottom than he would have had in the past.
Thank you for the questions, Jeff! I hope this helps.
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