Handicappers usually rely on a variety of approaches ranging from “gut feeling” to speed numbers, from trips to biases, from trainer stats to combo plays in trying to pick winners. But for 2009 at the shore, Del Mar handicappers have a new tool called “polycapping.”

There now will be statistics and trends designed strictly to help handicappers figure out how to play Del Mar’s Polytrack surface. “Polycapping” is based on data gathered over the period spanning the track’s previous two years of racing on its synthetic surface.

“This raw data can be used by handicappers as another tool in their pursuit of winners at Del Mar,” said Walker McBride, broadcasting and development manager at the seaside track. “They can take the data and put it to whatever use they want as they try to find winners.”

The “polycapping” idea got its start at Keeneland in 2008, with Keeneland creating a database. Del Mar collaborated with the Kentucky track and created its own data, which appears on a sortable spreadsheet. The data is available free on the Del Mar website (delmarracing.com) or in the track’s daily newsletter, “The Del Mar Insider.” Fans can sign up free for the newsletter by going to the track’s website, clicking on “My Del Mar” and going through the easy drill.

Among the items available to those using the “one-stop handicapping” location on the website are results, entries, programs, changes, workouts, leader standing, post position results, stable notes, track maintenance reports, track trend analysis by handicapper Jeremy Plonk, pro picks by various handicappers, Pick 3/4/6 calculators, “polycapping” database, Trakus, Twitter and Horseplayer Magazine’s *value play, *pace play, * trip-notes play, *vulnerable favorite play and *featured race analysis. In the end, “polycapping” will tell a handicapper the track’s tendencies and allow him or her to choose between 36 different elements in making selections.