08/15/2014 4:49PM

Turf should be firm for Million Day card


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. -- Arlington’s turf course was surprisingly wet for racing here Thursday and Friday, but track president Tony Petrillo said Arlington hasn’t been watering the grass, and that the course could be firm for Saturday’s Million Day program.

The last measurable local rainfall came Tuesday,, when less than a quarter-inch of rain fell, after which cool, dry weather prevailed, but the course, which figured to be firm, was rated yielding  for Thursday’s races. One jockey who rode Thursday said the course felt yielding to soft; another described it as being on the good side of yielding.

The wet conditions and lack of precipitation suggested Arlington had watered the grass, perhaps with an eye toward pleasing the overseas shippers here for the Million Day races, but Petrillo said that hadn’t been the case.

“We haven’t watered, but there’s been heavy dew in the morning,” Petrillo said. “That’s why they went and cut it.”

The turf was mowed after training and before racing Friday, when the condition was upgraded to good for the late-afternoon card. Warmer temperatures and prevailing sunshine should have further dried the course Friday afternoon, and if storms don’t develop here Saturday (the local forecast has reduced the chance of rain from 50 percent to 30 percent) the grass probably will be  firm for the Million.

“The turf’s in great shape,” said Petrillo. “The Europeans have said it’s fantastic: Not too soft, not too hard.”