The Saturday morning skies above Arlington Park.

The Saturday morning skies above Arlington Park.

David Snyder

Track Surface Muddy to Good; Turf Yielding for Breeders' Cup

Arlington Park track superintendent Javier Baraja said at 9:30 a.m. central time this morning that the track surface for the Breeders' Cup races will start out muddy or good, but should be upgraded as the day progresses. A light mist fell on the Windy City overnight, complicating the track crew's efforts to dispense with much of the moisture that has fallen over the last few days.

After Friday's races, Baraja and crew floated the track with steel plates in an effort to cushion the surface and open it up for maximum evaporation of moisture. The procedure was repeated at 2:30 a.m. and again at 7 a.m. this morning. "The horses are still going to be able to get a hold of it," Baraja said. "We should see fast times. It would help if the sun came out, but the breeze should help some." The skies remained heavily overcast through mid-morning at the track.

As for the turf course, Baraja said the rail had been moved from lane one out to lane five, a position it hasn't been moved to since the Arlington Million Day in August. There is a 53-foot difference between the two rail positions. "The turf course will likely be 'yielding' throughout the day," Baraja said. "We can't do much to upgrade it. It is damp on top, but has a firm bottom underneath."