Breeders Cup Venue 2010  

The main track at Churchill Downs, which hosts a record seventh Breeders’ Cup Nov. 5-6, is much different than any other dirt surface in the United States.

Most tracks are comprised of limestone with dirt on top. The Louisville venue has no such base while the track is mixed with a deep layer of soil, clay and organic materials several feet underneath the surface.

However, even the compositions of dirt surfaces vary. Calder Race Course’s main track is a 12-inch base of sand and clay with a 4 ½-inch cushion comprised of sand and clay. The surface becomes a bit cuppy while drying out from rain.

At Monmouth Park, where the 24th Breeders’ Cup was staged, a good rain results in a dead rail for a day or so.

Churchill Downs is way different up to 24 hours following a rainstorm. It just might become the best strip in racing, one expert says, because the main track turns faster compared to its dry, unusually deep surface that many horses don’t like.

Annual rainfall in Louisville is evenly distributed throughout the year. The wettest month is May when the Kentucky Derby is staged – 4.49 inches. November averages 3.62 inches.

You might remember that the winner of the 136th Kentucky Derby wasn’t that far back on May 1 when the track came up sloppy and was sealed. Super Saver was fourth within easy striking distance of pacesetter Conveyance after six furlongs of the 1 ¼ miles, fourth saving ground on the inside.

The son of Maria’s Mon advanced to second with a quarter-mile left, took command in the stretch and drew away to triumph by 2 ½ lengths. Ice Box rocked from 11th to beat out Paddy O’Prado for second by a neck.

Closers didn’t have many good afternoons during the entire spring-summer meeting at Churchill Downs while speed did well in sprints and routes.

In 92 races at six furlongs on the main track from April 24 through July 4, according to, 30 percent of winners went wire to wire.

In 56 contests at 1 1/16 miles, 25 percent of winners led at every call. In fact, early speed and stalking was the best running style on dirt as well as grass. In 25 turf sprints, there were an amazing 44 percent wire jobs.

Going back to ’06 BC Day on Nov. 4, four of the five winners in races on the fast main track had the lead by the stretch. Only Invasor in the Classic was second a half-length behind Bernardini, but prevailed by a length at the end of the 1 ¼ miles.

In the BC Juvenile at 1 1/16 miles, Street Sense was more than six lengths behind after six furlongs and was checked attempting to rally on the turn, but rocketed in the stretch to  gain a four-length lead and won by 10 lengths.

Only Dreaming of Anna led every step of the 1 1/16 miles in the Juvenile Fillies, winning by 1 ½ lengths. Thor’s Echo gained the lead by a head at the quarter pole in the six-furlong Sprint and scored by four lengths.

In the three turf routes, one winner was in front by the stretch while the other two victorious runners were third. Ouija Board increased her 1 ½-length margin heading to the wire and triumphed by 2 ¼ lengths in the 1 3/8-mile Filly and Mare Turf.

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