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.
Moreover, the breeding, running style and energy expenditure patterns typically present among turf horses, will be completely different when analyzing a group of horses in a dirt race; 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.