Dirt Experiment for Pool Play

June 15, 2011 07:32am
The 6-year-old Pool Play will make his first start on true dirt in his 28th career race Saturday: Churchill Downs' $500,000-added, Grade I Stephen Foster Handicap.

Based much of the year at trainer Mark Casse's Woodbine base, Pool Play has raced 20 times over synthetic surfaces, including his five career victories. He has run seven times on turf, including all three starts this year.

Casse said Pool Play needs longer distances and grass is where you are most likely to find 1 ½-mile races. In fact, he said the Foster's 1 1/8 miles might be too short, although Pool Play is 3 for 5 at that distance over Polytrack.

The Canadian-bred Pool Play could have run in last week's 1 ½-mile Brooklyn at Belmont Park, but Casse said he and owner Bill Farish want to know how the horse handles Churchill's dirt.
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