How the dirt horses did

A brief look at how the dirt horses did over the weekend.

Given the number of variables at play, it would be folly to try to draw definitive conclusions from these results; race records of individual horses on the various surfaces, including the different types of synthetics, would also need to be taken into consideration, and of course, a number of horses who have run primarily on synthetics also fared poorly at Santa Anita.

That said, it seems noteworthy that only one horse with success on dirt hit the winner’s circle at this year’s Breeders’ Cup.

FRIDAY

Marathon
Winner: Man Of Iron
Has run mostly or only on: Turf
Of the six entrants, two could be considered dirt horses: Eldaafer (7th), Nite Light (8th).

Juvenile Fillies
Winner: She Be Wild
Has run mostly or only on: synthetic
Of the six entrants, four could be considered dirt horses: Beautician (2nd) Ms. Vanezza (9th), Bickersons (10th), Devil May Care (11th)

Filly and Mare Sprint
Winner: Informed Decision
Has run mostly or only on: dirt and synthetic
Of the nine entrants, four could be considered dirt horses: the winner, Sara Louise (4th), Game Face (9th), Seventh Street (10th)

Distaff
Winner: Life Is Sweet
Has run mostly or only on: synthetic
Of the eight entrants, three could be considered dirt horses: Music Note (3rd), Cocoa Beach (6th) and Careless Jewel (8th), both of whom who’ve also been successful on synthetics. (Thanks to Ed DeRosa for pointing out my original omission of Music Note.)

SATURDAY

Sprint
Winner: Dancing in Silks
Has run mostly or only on: synthetic
Of the nine entrants, three could be considered dirt horses: Gayego, who’s had success on both dirt and synthetics (4th), Join in the Dance (9th), Capt. Candyman Can, who’s also got a win second over synthetic (8th)

BC Juvenile
Winner: Vale of York
Has run mostly or only on: turf
Of the 13 entrants, five could be considered dirt horses: Piscitelli (4th), Aikenite (5th), Eskendereya (9th), Aspire (12th), D’Funnybone (13th)

Dirt Mile
Winner: Furthest Land
Has run mostly or only on: turf and synthetic
Of the seven entrants, four could be considered dirt horses: Ready’s Echo (2nd), Neko Bay (6th), Bullsbay (9th), Pyro (10th)

Classic
Winner: Zenyatta
Has run mostly or only on: synthetic
Of the 12 entrants, six could be considered dirt horses: Summer Bird (4th), Richard’s Kid, who’s run well on both dirt and synthetics (6th), Regal Ransom (8th), Mine that Bird, who’s run well on both dirt and synthetics (9th), Einstein, who’s run well on dirt, synthetics, and turf (11th), Girolamo (12th).

Back tomorrow with further thoughts on the weekend, including a most satisfying win by Zenyatta.

7 thoughts on “How the dirt horses did

  1. Just like with turf handicapping, looks like you have to look for good synthetic form for all weather races, as most of the winners you noted had non-dirt form, except for two1. Informed Decision is undefeated on all weather, yes, but is a G1 winner on dirt.2. Zenyatta is plain undefeated, but also does have a G1 win on dirt to her credit.

  2. While it is fine to refer to synthetics as a third surface, what some seem to miss is that if you have two horses, one a dirt horse and the other a turf horse, I doubt any sane person would argue against the turf horse being FAR more likely to handle synthetics successfully.As for the above post…Informed Decision is clearly better on synthetics and her Grade 1 win on dirt ( slop ) was a dramatically subpar field. Does anybody really think we would have seen that kind of performance from her, or result even, if the race was on dirt? As for Zenyatta's dirt win, which is constantly, and incorrectly, referred to as her best race….it was a perfect set up and the question no fan of hers seems to want to answer is if anybody actually believes, given her running style, whether she could have compiled her impressive resume on dirt alone. This poster doesn't just doubt it….he dismisses it.Not to criticize Zenyatta, she's beyond marvelous, but perspective and rationality seems to be lacking in many's overall analysis of her and her record.

  3. Brooklyn Backstretch wrote:it would be folly to try to draw definitive conclusions from these results; ___________Mark Cramer the excellent handicapping author once expounded that a small sample size can be just as valid – and has more wager value.And I'd be willing to wager we do not need to run 100 or 200 Breeders Cup races on synthetic materials to find what has become increasingly obvious to most of us who dissect the winning (and losing) horses.As an aside I also have similar list of winners up at my blog along with a poll – please do vote.Thank you.

  4. Zenyatta is utterly fabulous and I'm as thrilled as anyone with her win yesterday, but I wonder what the outcome of the Classic would have been had it been run on dirt.

  5. One of the differences, Sid, in considering synthetics vs. turf is that turf is considered a wholly separate entity from dirt. Synthetics aren't–they were meant to be a substitute for it, and I think it's clear now that they need to be considered a division unto themselves.Anon: I am not enough of a handicapper to respond to what you say–let's hope someone else jumps in. TKS: went to your site, took the pool. Still not convinced that small sample size is necessarily indicative–just, perhaps, suggestive. You and me both, Linda.

  6. Teresa, yes, agreed. It's obvious that they are a "third" surface.As for the anonymous poster, I noted that Informed Decision was undefeated on synyhetics, but I also noted the fact — not my interpretation of the fact — that she is a G1 winner on dirt.Again, as for Zenyatta, no mention — except from you — that the dirt race was her best race — just the facts, ma'am, that she won a G1 on dirt. Again, another fact, she defeated the very good Ginger Punch in the race.As for your statement "I doubt any sane person would argue against the turf horse being FAR more likely to handle synthetics successfully," see the result of the BC classic and note that several very good turf horses finished behind Zenyatta. Just a fact, not an interpretation.Not that there's anything wrong with interpretations…

  7. Yes, Sid, what you said was true. I only expanded on the information you gave to make it more accurate.Handicapping is about the little things.But you know that.

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