It will be here before we know it! This is the 4th Breeders' Cup to be held at Santa Anita Racetrack, and the first time Breeders' Cup has chosen a location to host TWO consecutive Breeders' Cups (yes, it will be held at Oak Tree @ Santa Anita in 2009 also!).
It is also the first one on a SYNTHETIC TRACK. Over the summer, when we were all at Del Mar for the 7-week meet, a brand new surface was installed, including a new drainage system. The new surface, called "Pro-Ride," was installed by Ian Pearse of Pro-Ride Racing International of Australia. The main thing that makes it different from the other synthetic tracks installed in recent months (Cushion Track at Hollywood Park, Polytrack at Del Mar, and Tapeta at Golden Gate Fields), is that they use a special polymer rather than a wax to bind the sand and fibers together.
I spoke to Pearse several months ago, and he explained that they had originally tried wax tracks in Australia but the extremes of cold and heat caused the wax to degrade. It literally melted off the sand. So Pearse developed a polymer specifically for use on synthetic tracks. This is how he described it: "It's all about the molecular structure of the binder. It's multi chained, so you can make it like putty, whereas with waxes you can't do that."
Horses have been training on the surface for about 2 weeks, and the buzz I've heard so far is mostly good. Last week at Clockers' Corner, rider Danny Sorenson told me it feels great to him. He said that he's ridden all different caliber of horses -- from claimers to stakes horses -- on the track in the morning, and every one of them feels comfortable.
I'd love to hear from any other riders, trainers, or fans... your thoughts?