Synthetics forum

I’m here at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion at the all-day forum on synthetic surfaces. The first two panels were track execs and vets; the first was informative, interesting, and at times lively; the second less so, which disappointed me, as vets are the ones who can go beyond anecdotal information to provide real data about…

Synthetic synthesis

A quick review of recent events in the world of synthetic surfaces: Following Santa Anita’s announcement that it would replace its current Cushion synthetic surface with Pro-Ride, Ray Paulick provided on his website two sets of data about the Santa Anita surface. The first, from Ed Halpern, the executive director of the California Thoroughbred Trainers,…

The August Place To Be

Having grown up in Saratoga, I’ve seen racing slogans come and go, and my favorite has always been “The August Place to Be,” introducing me as it did to “august” as an adjective, and to a new pronunciation of the word. When racing went to five weeks and began in July, this was changed to…

Santa Anita’s new surface

On Tuesday Santa Anita announced that it will completely overhaul its track surface, replacing its current Cushion track with Pro-Ride, the first track in this country, I believe, to use the Pro-Ride surface. The Paulick Report links to the Santa Anita press release and reports its own research (in slightly less detail than I’d like–you…

Next steps

Following my post last week about synthetic surfaces, I saw links at both Thorough Blog and Equidaily to this article by Art Wilson on the debate in California over the safety of synthetic tracks. Notable quotation: “I’ve had nine horses put down in 40 years, and five of them have been since the synthetics” (trainer…

Issue #1: track surfaces

In the aftermath of Eight Belles’s breakdown in the Derby, we have no shortage of suggestions about where to put our energy and attention into making racing safer. Commenters on yesterday’s post offered their opinions; elsewhere, ideas—both informed and uninformed—are flooding blogs and newspapers. One suggestion–or in some cases, demand–that repeatedly arises is that tracks…

Summit on Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse

Dateline: Lexington, KY As Railbird noted yesterday, this week’s Blood-Horse reports on the proceedings of the second Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit, held in Lexington earlier this week. The summit was coordinated and underwritten by the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and the Jockey Club, and hosted by the Keeneland Association. There were a…

Synthetics in the news

It’s a big week in the world of synthetic surfaces. On Wednesday, a group of owners, trainers, jockeys, and executives gathered in California to discuss the topic, with, predictably, a variety of opinions being expressed. Some trainers love it; some trainers hate it. Some trainers are sure injuries are down; some trainers see more injuries.…

Monday night quick picks

Tip of the hat to Equidaily for pointing me in this direction, to an article by Art Wilson in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, in which the president of Hollywood Park calls for a summer forum on the pros and cons of racing on synthetics. Oak Tree executive vice-president Sherwood Chillingworth (The Scarlet Letter, anyone?)…

Check it out!

The Blood-Horse has put much of its synthetic surfaces edition online for free. I’d like to think that what I wrote at the end of this post had something to do with it (someone at The Blood-Horse did see the post, according to good old StatCounter), but I fear that I’d be gravely overestimating the…