TWO HORIZONTAL PERIODS
                      IN FRONT OF THE NUMBER

On at least a few recent days at BEL the track has been very slow--that is the time required to produce the same number is much slower than is normally the case. I'm passing on these comments because SHEET players who have only looked at NY and Calif may have never faced this particular circumstance.

The presence of two horizontal periods in front of a number indicates that on the day the horse ran the number, the track was much slower than normal but was NOT an off track due to the effects of moisture. Various reasons for this kind of phenomona exist from time to time at many tracks-- digging up the track and adding chemicals for winterization seems to be the most common, but sometimes other factors like a persistent drought can lead to a "dryout" of the track surface that causes a slowdown.

One major characteristic of such days is that there is a much higher percentage of horses running poor efforts than is usual, an effect similar to what happens on windy and sloppy days. For the most part I take the same position on poor efforts on "double dot" days as I do for windy and sloppy numbers--if I like the pattern overall, an individual off effort doesn't discourage me at all. I also treat small condition moves made on double dot tracks as somewhat more explosive patterns. For horses on these days who run numbers that basically seem to fit within their patterns, I treat the number as I would treat any other number.

Len Friedman