Continuing the theme of my last post about training and playing on multiple surfaces, I’ve included two videos below of my son John Fernando, a shortstop, on both surfaces. [Yes, he’s applying to colleges and I might as well give him as much exposure as possible, I figure! He now runs the 60 in 7:00 flat and throws 85 mph from ss to 1st and is 5’11″/150.] The bounces are obviously easier to field on synthetic surfaces because the ground doesn’t break away as it does on dirt as the ball bounces over it, or take an odd hop on grass as balls occasionally do. In racing, as in baseball, there are some who prefer one surface to another, but it’s refreshing to see some horsemen and horses take chances on multiple surfaces, as some legends from the past did, such as Secretariat, Dr. Fager, and John Henry, to name three. Quite frankly, there are probably many top-class horses that will act on multiple surfaces (or at least gut it out, as Kelso did on turf) but are never given a chance because of circumstances, such as biases of a trainer or the successes on one surface (dirt) or that they are racing in Europe (turf). Trainer Dale Romans doesn’t have biases against experimentation and he’s as talented and shrewd as any. His good turf 3-year-old Paddy O’Prado, who I profiled here some time back, is being readied for a shot at the BC Classic on dirt—a calculated gamble to increase his stud value. Read an excellent diary on Dale here in Thoroughbred Times. And remember, Paddy was third in the Kentucky Derby and also is Graded 1 placed on synthetics, in addition to being a Grade 1 winner on turf.
John Fernando on dirt/grass
John Fernando on synthetic
Paddy O’Prado (3rd) in Kentucky Derby on dirt
Paddy O’Prado (2nd) in Grade 1 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes on synthetic
Paddy O’Prado (1st) in Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes on turf