Can Manufacturing Principles Build A Better Racetrack?

Next week in Lexington, Kentucky, The Jockey Club will hold its fifth Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit.  Inaugurated in 2006 and held bi-annually, these summits are designed to improve the safety and soundness of Thoroughbred horses and bring together racetrack operators, trainers, veterinarians, and scientists. Among those presenting at the summit, which will…

Equine Injury Database update

My first post on synthetic racing surfaces was on September 26, 2007, nine days after this site was launched. I suppose that I can rightly be called a synthetic skeptic; while heartened at the possibility of a surface that would decrease injuries, I found hasty, and perhaps even dangerous, the quick adoption of synthetics without…

Summary of the Summit: Racetrack Surfaces Panel

When I left Brooklyn 12 days, 2,500 miles, and 10 states ago, I knew that I’d visit two racetracks, see lots of friends, meet many horses, research not enough, and, probably, write very little.  I didn’t know that I’d spend two days in the Keeneland sales pavilion listening to panels of industry folks talk about…

Track surfaces and breakdowns

It’s been a while since we’ve taken a spin through the world of synthetics, but with all the news in the last couple of months, it seemed time for an update. This is not an exhaustive overview, but a sample of some of the recent news. In January, Jeff Lowe in Thoroughbred Times reported on…

Synthetic review

In the aftermath of the first ever Breeders’ Cup on a synthetic surface, we’ve heard about equal calls and predictions from both sides: “Get used to it; in ten years, every track in North America will be synthetic.” “Don’t worry, folks; within five years, synthetic tracks will go the way of Astroturf.” Fans and bettors…

So what do we do now?

I’m not sure what it would have taken over this past weekend to change my opinion of this year’s Breeders’ Cup, not sure what would have made me think that having all of the distaff races on Friday was a good idea, not sure what would have made me support the decision to hold these…

Synthetics panel: the final report

Panel #4: Jockeys Participants: Richard Migliore, John Velazquez, Javier Castellano Richard Migliore, who’s been riding in California for the last few years, dominated much of this conversation because he’s had more experience than the other two jockeys. Migliore spoke about the initial adjustments at Del Mar, given the way it was playing in the afternoon…

Report on synthetics: trainer panel

Panel #3: Trainers Participants: Todd Pletcher, Nick Zito, Mark Casse, Dale Romans Each participant began by talking about his experience training on synthetic surfaces. Casse, who is based at Woodbine, obviously had the most, and he is an unequivocal fan of synthetics, particularly because he can keep his horses in training without regard to the…

Report on synthetics forum, part I

I first began to pay significant attention to synthetic surfaces two years ago in Saratoga, when I attended a panel at the National Museum of Racing at which several participants expressed concern about the possible respiratory effects of prolonged exposure to artificial racing surfaces. Before that, when I heard about synthetics, I thought that anything…