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2010 Breeders' Cup: Churchill Downs Track Profile - Part II

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LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 02: A general view of the twin spires and new renovation of the clubhouse at sunrise ahead of the Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs November 2, 2006 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 02: A general view of the twin spires and new renovation of the clubhouse at sunrise ahead of the Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs November 2, 2006 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

This post is a brief continuation of the one from a few weeks ago looking at how previous Breeders' Cup races unfolded at Churchill Downs only "Part II" is a summary of how the track played during it's recent spring meet.   The data is broken down by the common distances run during the spring meet that relate to one or more Breeders' Cup races.  Some of the distances are run so infrequently (1 1/4 on main track; 1 1/2 on turf course) that they are not included but I still think the numbers give us a peek at some of the general characteristics of the track.

The following races will be run at each of the distances highlighted below:

6.0f Dirt - Sprint
7.0f Dirt - Filly & Mare Sprint
8.0f Dirt - Dirt Mile
8.5f Dirt - Juvenile, Juvenile Fillies
9.0f Dirt - Ladies' Classic
5.0f Turf - Turf Sprint
8.0f Turf - Mile, Juvenile Turf, Juvenile Filly Turf

The Classic, Turf, Filly and Mare Turf, and Marathon are run at distances rarely carded for races at Churchill Downs so previous editions of those races at the track are probably a better indication as to how the track might play.  Of course the Marathon, being that it's one of the new races, is pretty much anybody's guess.

Surf.

Dist.

TrkRecord

#Races

1/4 BL

1/2 BL

W2W

Press

Mid

Closer

Dirt

6.0

1:07.55

92

1.75

1.25

28

37

12

15

Dirt

7.0

1:20.50

44

2.50

2.25

12

15

7

10

Dirt

8.0

1:33.57

58

2.00

1.00

5

37

7

9

Dirt

8.5

1:41.27

56

3.25

1.50

14

16

12

14

Dirt

9.0

1:47.28

7

2.50

1.25

2

3

1

1

Turf

5.0

:55.54

25

1.50

1.50

11

6

7

1

Turf

8.0

1:33.78

24

3.75

2.25

5

5

4

10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The chart below summarizes the same data with winning percentages for each running style.

Surf.

Dist.

W2W

Press

Mid

Closer

Dirt

6.0

30.0%

40.7%

13.0%

16.3%

Dirt

7.0

27.0%

34.4%

15.9%

22.7%

Dirt

8.0

9.0%

63.4%

12.1%

15.5%

Dirt

8.5

25.0%

28.6%

21.4%

25.0%

Dirt

9.0

29.0%

42.4%

14.3%

14.3%

Turf

5.0

44.0%

24.0%

28.0%

4.0%

Turf

8.0

20.8%

20.8%

16.7%

41.7%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • It's no surprise that dirt sprints play heavily towards front end speed with over 70% of all winners in the spring coming from on or near the lead.  
  • There is an interesting difference between the one-turn one mile races at Churchill and the two-turn 1 1/16 mile races.  The one-turn distance favors front-end, but not wire-to-wire, speed.  The two-turn distance has about as even a distribution of winners a you'll find on a dirt track in North America - 20 to 29% winners in each category.
  • Turf sprint, predictably, heavily favor speed, but as soon as you stretch out to two turns on the turf course, off-the-pace runners greatly increase their success.