Quick Picks

More Evening Attire news: Steve Crist writes about him in his blog, proving that even handicappers have hearts, and Jenny Kellner wrote a follow-up article on the NYRA website, focusing on Evening Attire’s “grandfather,” Tim Kelly, Hall of Fame trainer; breeder and part owner of Evening Attire; and father of Pat Kelly, Evening Attire’s current trainer. The amount of emotion that this horse inspires is just amazing.

Got my synthetic surfaces edition of The Blood-Horse today, and I dove into it as soon as I got home and am finding fascinating reading, by far the most comprehensive look at synthetic surfaces that I’ve seen. No surprise that reactions are mixed, with creditable perspectives on all sides. One interesting preliminary observation: that many people don’t think that synthetics should be the only surface, rather, that they should be installed on tracks with historically high rates of injury. Unsurprisingly, horsemen have opinions about which dirt tracks are safe and which are not.

Two vets came out unequivocally stating that there’s no evidence of the synthetic junk in horses’ respiratory systems; the number of horses scoped after racing on synthetics is significant, and so far, so good.

The general sense is that synthetic surfaces do not reduce injury as promised; most people feel that the surfaces were/are over-hyped in terms of this benefit. Interestingly, the most recent Keeneland meet had the same number of fatal breakdowns as the 2005 fall meet and the 2006 spring meet combined, and they were both run on dirt. The Polytrack meets of fall ’06 and spring ’07 had zero fatal breakdowns during racing.

More as I continue reading–get a copy! It’s terrific reading.

In other synthetic track news, TBA blogger Jen writes in today’s Toronto Star about the end of the Woodbine meet. Credit to Equidaily for pointing me in this direction.

4 thoughts on “Quick Picks

  1. Teresa,In The Blood-Horse issue, do they address the study done in Pennsylvania this year regarding horses breathing in the Tapeta particles? It was done on horses that ran at Presque Isle Downs and at Penn National, testing them before, during and after their running on the synthetic surface. The PA State Horse Racing Commission supposedly heard the study report at their November 19 meeting, but I haven’t been able to access it anywhere online (no surprise considering how backward technologically many government agencies are). I would be curious of the results.

  2. So far, Valerie, I haven’t seen mention of it. I’ve been looking for results of that study, too, because I was glad to hear that finally, they were getting some science involved in reviewing these surfaces. It’s discouraging that there hasn’t been more news of it.I hope to get through the rest of the magazine tonight, and I’ll let you know if I see anything about it.

  3. Interesting reading about the synthetic surface studies. Not surprised that the number of injuries is not reduced across the board. Thanks for the update as usual!

  4. Linda: the articles themselves are far more nuanced than what I posted, but I hope to go back and write in more depth later on. Alan at Left At The Gate writes about it today also–

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