Say what you will about fake dirt, one thing it isn't is boring.
Shine up the Photo light, this Cup series looks freaky.
Boring is where somebody breaks on top on the real dirt, opens up by seven, and everybody else follows around single-file. The last time they all lined up in a row on the closest thing to dirt was never; the last time anybody won on the lead by seven on synthetics was probably never.
In numerous of the Breeders' Cup fake dirt races, beginning with the Filly and Mare Sprint Friday afternoon, the synthetic surface will bring together rockets fading and pursuers rushing -- conflicting forces near the finish line.
How influential is the surface where the rubber meets the hoof? It can help turn a claimer into a world champ; see Cost of Freedom.
Generally speaking, what generalities can be drawn about the make-believe surface?
Well, hotly contested paces are probably for the railbirds. Synthetic surfaces tend to favor stalkers or closers, a style that makes for good TV.
Horses are born running a certain way, early, stalking, or later. Styles seldom change. The European style, which is to swoop from the middle, fits here. Real American dirt to The Stuff, first time, sounds like a throw-out.
As for turf itself, grass races, everybody knows that nobody has ever hit a Breeders' Cup tri using actual handicapping means; guessing, sure.
Filly and Mare Sprint
Juvenile Fillies Turf
C S Silk
Filly and Mare Turf
Halfway to Heaven
Wait a While
True to Tradition
West Side Bernie
Cost of Freedom
Soldier of Fortune
Duke of Marmalade
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