"She’s terrific," added Willard. "She couldn’t be training any better. She loves the dirt. I knew it two years ago, and I knew it going into Hot Springs (for the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park). She drives off it. It doesn’t have the trampoline effect like the synthetics."
Better than from the horse's mouth!
By the way, that Apple Blossom in which she was so dominant timed at 1:13 for 6F, while Saturday will be around 1:09 for 6F on a similar surface. So, Z will use much more energy to be close - or be 15-20 lengths further back than usual.
Ragozin, Thorograph, Beyer, all point to a disappointment for the legions of Zenyatta fans this weekend - and her backers believe that she transcends numbers/statistics. Gotta love this sport in that she finally gets to prove which side is right.
Some of you know, I collect physiological data on horses during exercise. Most of my data comes from Churchill and Keeneland, I've never been out West. From these numbers, horses breezing on synthetic experience much smaller lactic acid build up than those on dirt.
Amazingly, it takes 6F on polytrack to even get close to the lactic acid dealt with after just 4F on dirt. So after 6F of the BC, Zenyatta will likely be in uncharted lactic acid territory for her and still have a half mile left to go. Ouch. She is indeed the greatest racemare ever if she can overcome this against such a quality field.
Don't just take my word for it, get out there yourself and feel the differences.
Run 400m on blacktop(CD), again on your local high school rubber track(poly), and again on grass(turf). They will feel markedly different, both during the run and in the days after - and the stopwatch will differ greatly.