Tracking Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup

Back in 2008 when the Breeders’ Cup was held at Santa Anita Park no runner went wire to wire in any of the 14 races on the main track’s Pro-Ride surface or the grass course. However, the synthetic surface was replaced with dirt after ’09 following many problems and complaints about it. Then last year the main track was renovated to bring it back to the combination of sand, silt, and clay initially approved when the dirt surface was installed late in ’10. But now the dirt track has prompted a complaint from a trainer as he weighs which Breeders’ Cup race to enter his runner. Conditioner Charles Lopresti, who has sent out Wise Dan to victory on dirt and grass, is concerned about Santa Anita’s main track if the 5-year-old gelding goes in the BC Classic instead of the Mile. “We’ll lean toward the Mile,” Lopresti told, “but we won’t rule out the Classic. Listening to everybody talk, I think he deserves to run in the Classic. I just watch those races at Santa Anita. Maybe that track’s a little bit loose. It doesn’t seem like it was as tight as it was — just to me, anyway. “If you watch him in the Stephen Foster (at Churchill Downs), his action wasn’t the best.” Wise Dan ran second to Ron the Greek in that Grade 1 last June after the son of Wiseman’s Ferry won the Clark Handicap at the Louisville track 11 months ago. “If you watch him the Stephen Foster, that track was kind of loose that night and he wasn’t getting a hold of it,” Lopresti recalled. “I’m a little worried about Santa Anita. It’s the same kind of speed-oriented track, but it’s a little deeper and looser. I don’t know if he’ll handle that. “For him to run on a track that he never has been on and face a horse like Game on Dude that has won over the track would be like throwing him to the wolves. I know he’ll handle the turf. We’ll talk about it. We’ve got some options anyway.” Santa Anita’s main track has long had the reputation of being speed favoring no matter the surface. During the ’11-’12 meeting from Dec. 26 through April 22, of the 122 winners 39 percent went wire to wire, according to During the current meeting from opening day, Sept. 28, through Sunday, 63 percent of the 19 winners at the distance led at every call. Last season 37 percent of the 60 winners at 1 1/16 miles were in front from the start, according to So far this season, 29 percent of the seven winners at the distance led at every call. In 90 sprints on the grass last season 27 percent were wire jobs. This meeting only 9 percent of the 11 winners led at every call. In 114 turf routes last season 20 percent of the winners led all the way. So far 29 of the 14 route winners were in the front from the start.