Surface

Track workers prepare the turf course during opening day at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017.  (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Track workers prepare the turf course during opening day at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

 

Thoroughbred Horse Racing Over the Main Track and Sod

Racing Surface

From a handicapping standpoint, there is a fundamental difference between dirt and turf races.  Whereas over dirt, speed as an individual element of Class will often be decisive; winners of turf races will require more stamina and determination during the final fraction in order to prevail, thus as a handicapping factor, turf and dirt races must be approached with different methods.

Often, a quick scan of a horse's racing record can reveal its preferred racing surface.  From time to time, when horses are trying a new surface for the first time or just switching surfaces, then other factors can be informative.

In such cases, handicappers may find a horse's breeding to be of some importance.  For the most part, if the sire of a race horse was an accomplished turf runner; then it too, may have a propensity to win on turf.

Lastly, turf tends to be a kinder surface to the race horses, runners don't get so much dirt kicked in their face; and as opposed to the main track, the inner rail is frequently adjusted in order to preserve the racetrack surface.

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