While many Europeans and locally based West Coast connections were
happy to see Breeders’ Cup 2008 and 2009 in Los Angeles, many East
Coast-based trainers were less than enthusiastic, because of the lack
of a conventional dirt surface. Hall of Fame conditioner Nick Zito, for
example, had no runners in either in 2008 or 2009.
In 2008 there were 21 horses making their synthetic track debut at the Breeders’ Cup. Of those, only one horse won (Raven’s Pass in the Classic — and he was a European turf horse). In 2009 every main track winner had prior synthetic track experience.
Clearly since the advent of synthetic surfaces it has been an easier
transition going from synthetic to dirt than vice versa. With this
years’ Breeders’ Cup at Louisville it may hinder the Europeans as far
as their main track runners are concerned, but I foresee the
Californians having no issue at all.