Some horses can excel in muddy conditions, as evidenced by Cosmo Kramer’s famed horse-racing Seinfeld exhortation: “Born to slop. His father was a mudder; his mother was a mudder!” A sloppy track is even slower than a muddy track and usually will have standing water but with a firm base. And a heavy track is one that is drier than a muddy track but also is slower than a muddy track due to the weight of the wet sand. A muddy track will have looser soil allowing the horses to pull their hooves out more easily, but a heavy track is more like running on damp cement and will slow the pace even more.
Wet Turf Tracks Usually Are Faster Than Muddy Tracks
When weather and track conditions are ideal for turf tracks, they have a firm, even surface that enables the fastest racing pace. When conditions are less than ideal but still relatively dry and only having a slight give during the race, conditions are considered to be good for turf tracks. Faster horses generally do well on firm and good tracks. Stalkers also can do well by keeping close to the front of the pack and making a later charge for a win. When track conditions begin to slow, closers can stand better chances of pulling out wins with late charges. When a turf track has a lot of moisture it, the running surface becomes more sponge-like and is considered to be a “yielding” surface that absorbs some of the horse’s energy, which will slow it down and possibly tire it out sooner. A rain-soaked turf track is considered “soft” due to its water-saturated surface and will slow the racing pace by a great deal. Horses that are good at pacing themselves and close strongly generally do best under such track conditions.