Racing Officials, Trainers Prepare for Wet Breeders' Cup
by Esther Marr
Date Posted: 10/25/2007 4:53:55 PM
Last Updated: 10/26/2007 2:52:35 PM

Mud at Monmouth Park.
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Although the current forecast calls for weather that could dampen Breeders' Cup weekend, Monmouth Park and Breeders' Cup officials, as well as trainers, are remaining optimistic.

"When you play outside, you have to deal with the elements," said Bob Kulina, vice president and general manager of Monmouth Park.

According to weather.com, the chance for precipitation is 80% Friday and 100% Saturday. Temperatures on both days will range from the low to upper 60s.

In the event of bad weather, Kulina said Monmouth would try its best to be "as accommodating as possible." He noted there are several heated tents positioned around the facility that can hold at least 40%-50% of those in unsheltered seating. The tents will include betting windows and concession stands.

"You build these things thinking you'll never have to use them," Kulina said. "Monmouth is also a big racetrack. There's a lot of room in different places."

Trainer Larry Jones, who will send out Hard Spun in the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) and Proud Spell in the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), doesn’t believe a sloppy track will impede his horses.

"Hard Spun has won on the slop before, and (the wet track) doesn't appear to be a factor for Proud Spell," he said. "On a day of championships, you hate for everyone not to have a fair chance because some horses won't like the slop, though."

After watching Tiago go over the track on the misty morning of Oct. 25, trainer John Sherriffs felt confident the muddy surface wouldn't be an issue for his colt. "He has given me every indication that he'll run well on an off track," Sherriffs said. "I think the turf will be a concern for some horses if it gets too soft, though."

While Vinery Farm racing manager Tom Ludt isn't enthusiastic about a wet Breeders' Cup weekend, he noted one positive aspect for his operation's colt, Kodiak Kowboy, who will run in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I). "It's not ideal, but the good news is that all 11 other horses are in the same situation," he said.

Pam Blatz-Murff, Breeders' Cup senior vice president of operations, said the racing surface would be maintained as normal during Breeders' Cup weekend and will be sealed if it gets wet.

"If there's any break in rain during the weekend, we'll have a fast track," she said. "All the drains are open on the turf, and it's a fast draining system. If we have a clearing in the rain, it should be good to firm."

Horses trained 40 feet out on the turf the morning of Oct. 25. Racing was taken off the turf that afternoon.

"(If it rains), the Breeders' Cup will still go on," Blatz-Murff said. "Racetrackers and bettors are usually the ones to weather the weather."

Blatz-Murff, who is crossing her fingers the rain won't start Saturday until the races are over, found one positive. "At least it's not supposed to be cold and rainy," she said.



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