Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sectional Times Are Back


Winning With Eb Netr....
Back in the good old days, almost every dog track printed the First to Turn or FTT in their programs. This was the call for the dog who was leading at the first turn and that dog's time to the first turn. Better yet, when you looked at a dog's lines for its last six races, if it was First to Turn in any of those races, there was FTT in that line, along with the time.
This made it a lot easier to compare dogs. Instead of just knowing that the dog breaks and is first at the 1/8th call, you'd know that it is fast enough to beat all the other dogs in that race to the first turn. Knowing the time of the FTT call helped a bettor know which dogs were likely to be FTT in this race.

Gradually, tracks did away with this call, to the chagrin of smart bettors. I often wonder why they did this. After all, is it really that much of an added chore to keep track of which dog is first to turn? With everything so automated nowadays, I don't think so. I think it's just one more sign of the decline in dog racing in the US.
I don't think the tracks respect the bettors or feel that they have to provide an optimum betting atmosphere for them. It's a lot easier and more lucrative to just sling a bunch of slot machines, roulette wheels and poker tables into a dark room, install some flashing lights and make it look glitzy and rake in the money.
The only alternative now is to keep track of FTT ourselves and this is almost impossible unless you eat, sleep and live at the track. I do it for the races I watch at the track, when I can, and I also watch the replays at home as often as possible and mark the FTT dogs on the program. But this is a very poor substitute for actual First To Turn Times with the official track time.
Maybe, like a lot of other things, greyhound racing will come around again and get back to its glory days. It was popular during the Great Depression in the 1930's, faded out and then came back like gangbusters in the 70's and 80's. Now it's fading in the stretch again, but there's still a core of die-hard fans who would like to see good races, decent treatment of the dogs and programs that give you enough information so that you can handicap wisely.
Until then, I guess we'll just have to gather as much information as we can, including First To Turn Times when possible, and not depend completely on the track programs.
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