Belmont Turf Yielding, Track Super Says
by Dan Liebman
Date Posted: 10/28/2005 11:56:47 AM

If races were being run on the turf at Belmont Park today, track superintendent John Passero said the courses would be listed as yielding.

No races have been run on the turf at Belmont all week in order to save it for Saturday's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships day.

Passero took time to walk a portion of the course following training hours and said the Bluegrass is responding well to the temperature and wind though things could certainly be better. New York has received a record amount of rainfall this month.

"I wish we hadn't had that rain this week," Passero said of the deluge that came down Tuesday. "The course is soft but it is very fair."

On Thursday, the rail was dropped, having been up for more than a month 18 feet out from the rail.

"No horse has run over this portion of the courses for four to five weeks," Passero, who moved to New York from Maryland earlier this year, said. "For 90% of the turf races, everything but the start and the finish, most all horses will be in the paths where the rail has been up."

Passero showed how the turf was very thick and he was able to push his thumb about half an inch into the ground under the grass.

While Passero was talking, trainer Jimmy Toner walked the course. He has Wonder Again in the Emirates Airline Filly & Mare Turf (gr. I). "I wouldn't have minded if it was even softer," Toner said, with Wonder Again known for liking soft courses. "It's in very good shape, but I actually thought it might be a little softer than it is," he said.

During morning training hours, English trainer Michael Stoute walked the course while Favarouble Terms was galloping. She is also in the Filly & Mare Turf, thought by many observers to be the most competitive race on the card.

"It is soft ground, very soft ground, by our standards (in Europe)," Stoute said. "I would like to see it dry out a bit more."

The John Deere Turf and Emirates Airline Mile (both gr. I) will be run on the outer, Widener Course, while the Filly & Mare Turf will be contested on the inner course.

"It certainly helps that we have two courses," Passero said. "In fact, I would like to see us combine the two courses into one course."

There is a chance of showers both Friday and Saturday with the high temperature both days in the low 50s.

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