The ground at Monmouth Park, whether it is covered with grass or manicured dirt, has been the subject of many conversations and much speculation in recent weeks.

Unlike most racetracks in temperate climates which have hosted the Breeders Cup World Championships, there has never before been a meeting held in the autumn at Monmouth Park, which in its natural state is notoriously speed favoring regardless of surface.

But Monmouth is in its natural state during the summer and like any racetrack will quite likely play differently during less balmy weather, though the current unseasonably warm weather in the East may result in conditions only slightly less sultry than the seaside track with which ever horseplayer in the mid-Atlantic region is intimately familiar.

There are a fallacious if widely shared assumption about the track that once promoted itself with the phrase, Fast times at the Jersey Shore. The turns are not more severe than the typical one-mile racetrack.

Other widely shared assumptions are true during a typical Monmouth meeting, which this is not.

During the meeting last summer Monmouth lived up to its reputation in style. Horses with frontrunning and stalking running styles were dominant and while only about 16 percent of seldom run 10-furlong main-track races were won by the pacemakers, 42 percent of 9-furlong races, 34 percent of races run at a mile and 70 yards, the Dirt Mile route, and 38 percent of 6-furlong races were won by horses leading from gate to wire. The turf course reflects a less pronounced bias toward frontrunning speed, which is probably more reflective of the dynamic of grass racing, but tactical speed is nevertheless an advantage.

A starting position outside post 8 is a virtual death sentence in two-turn races at the main track and it is reasonable to assume that bias will remain in place. But the nature of a newly resurfaced course in unfamiliar weather will not manifest itself until racing begins next week.

Weather, humidity and wind affect change in a racing surface and there is no measure of Monmouth on the last weekend of October.

The historic average high temperature for next weekend in Oceanport is 59 and there is a 55 percent chance that the high will surpass 60 degrees. The range of high temperatures goes from 48 to 68. The average low is 45 with the range beginning at 30 and going to 57. There is a five percent chance of a low below 32, which would be disastrous.

Even at the average high or more, the weather in which the Breeders Cup will unfold will be about 20 degrees cooler than that during which any germane data has been collected. The humidity, also a factor in determining the nature of the ground, is lower in autumn than in summer.

The turf course will also play differently. The grass, kept low during the summer, was allowed to grow to the point at which is became seasonally dormant in deference to European sensibilities. The cooler weather and any rain during the week will assure that there is some give to the ground, which is usually firm during the summer and not used in wet weather. Breeders Cup races are not run off-the-turf.

We know much about Monmouth Park, little of it pertinent to the events that will unfold there next weekend. What we know about Monmouth in late October amounts essentially to nothing that will be useful in attempting to arrive at betting decisions at least until we have seen races run over the surface.