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Glimmerglass
Aug. 28, 2009, 02:20 PM
Not exactly a shocker after Del Mar has to date 11-fatalities for this meet.

LA Times August 27, 2009 "Thoroughbreds suffer a higher number of fatal injuries on synthetic surfaces compared to dirt" (http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-spw-horse-injuries28-2009aug28,0,4424394.story)


A UC Davis study of horse deaths at California tracks looks into the difference in injuries on dirt and synthetic surfaces.
By Eric Sondheimer

August 27, 2009

A UC Davis study of horse deaths at California tracks has documented for the first time that thoroughbreds suffer a higher number of fatal hind rear injuries on race tracks with synthetic surfaces compared to dirt.

In statistics compiled from 2008, nine thoroughbred deaths resulted from left rear injuries and 10 from right rear injuries on synthetic tracks. There was only one death on dirt from a hind rear injury, according to the study.

The debate over dirt versus synthetic tracks has roiled the horse racing industry in recent years.

But the study was inconclusive about whether more fatal front leg injuries occurred on dirt or synthetic surfaces.

The largest number of fatal fractures were front limbs, with 36 horses suffering right-front injuries on synthetic tracks compared to 22 on dirt, and 38 had left-front injuries on synthetic surfaces compared to 37 on dirt tracks, according to the study.

The research was revealed Thursday during a meeting of the California Horse Racing Board at Del Mar.

The CHRB has mandated that any horse that dies at a race track be sent to UC Davis for a postmortem.

Hailu Kinde, interim director for the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System, said there were 351 horses submitted in 2008 for postmortems, including 258 thoroughbreds and 86 quarterhorses.

Kinde declined to say whether synthetic or dirt tracks were safer. "The data is not yet analyzed," he said.

eric.sondheimer(at)latimes.com

Copyright © 2009, The Los Angeles Times

Anyone want to guess which CA of the big three tracks will convert back to dirt first? GGF, DelMar or Santa Anita? (Sadly consider HP a lost cause)

Beezer
Aug. 28, 2009, 02:46 PM
The Bloodhorse also has an article on the study; pretty shocking is that the number of catastrophic breakdowns for Quarter Horses doubled over last year, and Los Al stayed a dirt track.

What the study does is give concrete credence to the trainers' complaints that they were seeing far more hind-leg injuries, so now there's numerical proof, not just anecdotes.

Also, what the CHRB vets seem to be saying is that many of those breakdowns were caused by previous injuries ... which opens the door to all sorts of theories/speculation.

I really don't know how any of the tracks can contemplate going back to dirt, simply from a financial perspective. Santa Anita's parent is in bankruptcy court, Del Mar is on the governor's wish list to sell and Golden Gate is barely hanging on.

Drvmb1ggl3
Aug. 28, 2009, 02:57 PM
What are the fatality rates? There's no mention of them in the article, just raw numbers.

DickHertz
Aug. 28, 2009, 03:50 PM
Maybe they need longer toe grabs?

Blueshadow
Aug. 28, 2009, 06:12 PM
Really - the title of that article is unbelievably misleading. What's the per starter or start rate per surface?

I'm just guessing, mind you, but most starts (starters) in California now occur (race) on synthetics ...

These numbers tell you nothing about fatality rates, which is why they declined to comment on it. And this is a one year observation which hopefully will become a part of a multi-year actual time series sample.

Pre existing injuries have repeatedly been identified as a high correlate with catastrophic breakdowns in necropsy studies. That is one thing a necropsy CAN tell you - whether there are "old" and/or healing fractures, old soft tissue tears and holes, or changes/remodeling occurring as the result of old injuries.

Beezer
Aug. 28, 2009, 06:38 PM
Wanna know how useless the California Horse Racing Board is? I searched all over its website (as well as UC Davis' site) and could not find the report, so I had the brilliant thought to just call the CHRB and ask.

Neither of the two people I talked to had a clue about the study, didn't know anything about the results ("Isn't that interesting?" said the nice lady who answered the phone), didn't know that the study was presented to the board, or that is was being written about both in the racing and non-racing press, and discussed on BBs.

The most helpful advice I got was "Well, if it was in The Times, call them. They should have the report." :rolleyes:

So, have contacted the reporter. Clearly it's out there somewhere, because, as I said, the Bloodhorse has it, too (but also no mention of injury rates).

Blueshadow
Aug. 28, 2009, 06:48 PM
Beezer... you made me laugh. I have to share this on the CHRB.

Last year the CHRB was contacted by, mmm, possibly press members ((?) forgetting the details now) regarding 40 pregnant TB mares that were shipped from a breeding farm in So CA to a feedlot in AZ. Then Chair of the SCHRB, Richard Schapiro - a state appointed chair of a regulatory board - was shocked to learn that there is a law in California prohibiting the export of horses to slaughter. He asked the CHRB "research staff" to, you know, "research" it, and they proved incapable of detecting section 598c of the penal code among the California statutes.

A TB retirement farm was called, in order to obtain an internet link to the appopriate section of code which was emailed to them :)

Glimmerglass
Aug. 28, 2009, 07:28 PM
BlooHorse 8-28-09 "Back Leg Injuries Tied to Synthetic Tracks" (http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/52317/back-leg-injuries-tied-to-synthetic-tracks)


Arthur also told the board that UC-Davis is working on developing consistent test data with which to measure the various synthetic track surfaces.

He said that such measurements are complicated by surface temperatures on synthetic tracks that are much higher than on traditional dirt surfaces.

But Arthur said that in 90% of racetrack fatalities, the horse had a pre-existing injury that led to the catstrophic breakdown.

"To think that this is only a racetrack problem, and that we will solve the problem by fixing the racetracks is terribly naive," Arthur said.

Beezer
Aug. 28, 2009, 07:33 PM
The Times reporter says that the CHRB report will be issued in written form in two weeks. So it would appear that both he and the Bloodhorse reporter listened in/watched the webcast of the meeting to hear the oral report.

Drvmb1ggl3
Aug. 28, 2009, 07:39 PM
Really - the title of that article is unbelievably misleading. What's the per starter or start rate per surface?


Yeah, the title says there is a higher rate of fatalities on synths. The article makes no mention of what the rates are, or maybe I'm going blind and missed it. Usually those rates are expressed in fatalities/1000 starts.

Blueshadow
Aug. 28, 2009, 09:05 PM
The title of the article is highly misleading - in fact it's misrepresentation of the facts presented in the article.

I like Arthur's comments that 90% of fatalities are associated with a pre-existing injury (I think that's been well established over numerous studies) and that fixing track surfaces isn't the answer. Very direct.

mintano
Aug. 28, 2009, 10:01 PM
The title of the article is highly misleading - in fact it's misrepresentation of the facts presented in the article.

I like Arthur's comments that 90% of fatalities are associated with a pre-existing injury (I think that's been well established over numerous studies) and that fixing track surfaces isn't the answer. Very direct.

But at the same time what track were they working on when the pre-existing injury occured. I do believe track surface places a part on catastrophic breakdowns, but there are other factors that are just as big a part. Hard to detect pre-existing problems when the horse is on all sorts of medication. Doesn't help to when you have trainers knowingly running horses with problems.

Blinkers On
Aug. 28, 2009, 11:30 PM
Maybe they need longer toe grabs?

Oddly Dick the don't need hinds on these tracks and even fronts are becoming barefoot for some as well in an attempt to find foot/leg that is forgiven on these tracks. Some of the surfaces are much harder on feet than others. Hind end injuries seem to be alleviated some on the synthetics when they don't have hind shoes.
And of course Arthur is going to attempt to make the decision by the CHRB look as though it was a founded decision. He does know where his bread is buttered. And of course he is right in some horses there is something pre existing. absolutely. But of course Dr Arthur has never nerved or heel nerved any horses for the purpose of running, right? Oh ya... he has indeed! It's well documented as a matter of fact. The guy's no saint.

summerhorse
Aug. 29, 2009, 12:03 AM
I remember when they first started with synthetic surfaces the trainers complained about more hind leg problems (although they were mostly soft tissue ones then).

My thought is that maybe some trainers needed to learn how to properly condition horses for that sort of surface. Apparently not everyone has!

Blinkers On
Aug. 29, 2009, 12:35 AM
Ya, that's it. It's a state full of dummies who can't learn how to train on any surface.
When it started it was exactly what it is now with a few new players like Carava who has not had a problem with breakdowns.
It has always been, soft tissue and pelvic and tibial fractures etc. It is the same sad story it was from the get go. Absolutely nothing has changed or improved. IF anything it is worse.

On the Farm
Aug. 29, 2009, 04:04 AM
I remember when they first started with synthetic surfaces the trainers complained about more hind leg problems (although they were mostly soft tissue ones then).

My thought is that maybe some trainers needed to learn how to properly condition horses for that sort of surface. Apparently not everyone has!

Since you've narrowed the problem down to conditioning, please enlighten all of us on what should change in a training routine in dirt vs synthetic.

Pronzini
Aug. 29, 2009, 09:56 AM
Since you've narrowed the problem down to conditioning, please enlighten all of us on what should change in a training routine in dirt vs synthetic.

Fair question. What were Mel Stute's stats--in 40 years, he has 12 fatalities and 9 of those have been since the switch to synthetics. What did this fine trainer do to become so incompetent in the last few years?

http://www.thoroughbredtimes.com/national-news/2009/January/07/Trainers-voice-concern-over-Santa-Anitas-synthetic-surface.aspx

This is a highly political issue. The switch was controversial when made, cost a boatload of money and some of the people publicly blaming the trainers were themselves responsible for spearheading the shift. There are even rumblings about how the stats are kept and (allegedly) manipulated by those same folks. I know someone who had a filly breakdown behind in the morning at Del Mar, now having round the clock care at a lay up facility and still may yet be euthanized (although her outlook with care is good) and as far as he knows, she hasn't been counted in the stats even though she had to be vanned off the track.

I know a common perception is that all racehorse trainers are bozos, but really they're not. Jack Carava in particular is a good decent horseman with a good reputation and the blame game has irritated other trainers no end because since he's had the worst luck this year at Del Mar, the implication from management is that Carava's either incompetent or worse --and as Blinkers On notes, he's not.

Equibrit
Aug. 29, 2009, 10:01 AM
What do Americans have against turf ?

Pronzini
Aug. 29, 2009, 10:16 AM
What do Americans have against turf ?

Nothing but since turf courses get chewed up pretty quickly, you can only card a few races a day and generally its closed for training. It couldn't be the mainstay of American style racing.

Equibrit
Aug. 29, 2009, 10:44 AM
So - it's a management problem then.

Drvmb1ggl3
Aug. 29, 2009, 12:01 PM
So - it's a management problem then.

No, it's a logistical problem. You can't race 5 days a week for a couple of months on grass. Well you could, but your turf course would become a dirt course pretty quick.
The same reason people at barns the world over do dressage and jump everyday on sand/dirt/synthetic surfaces.

Equibrit
Aug. 29, 2009, 12:04 PM
You couldn't manage it so that you don't run over the same ground every race ?
No - it's not the same reason people ride in sand arenas.

Drvmb1ggl3
Aug. 29, 2009, 12:09 PM
Name me one racecourse anywhere in the world where they pull that off.

Equibrit
Aug. 29, 2009, 12:12 PM
I don't see how that means that it couldn't be pulled off.

Blinkers On
Aug. 29, 2009, 01:29 PM
You couldn't manage it so that you don't run over the same ground every race ?
No - it's not the same reason people ride in sand arenas.

With the exception of maybe Gulfstream, our turf courses are simply not that wide. Yes the rail can be moved in and out to preserve and try to repair some of the damage sustained by use, but there are significant limitations.

Horseforthecourse
Aug. 29, 2009, 03:08 PM
Legitimate question...

How do the Europeans manage to keep running on their turf courses then?

Pronzini
Aug. 29, 2009, 03:20 PM
Their meets are short (Royal Ascot is five days); the courses are large and horses train in yards off the track.

Equibrit
Aug. 29, 2009, 03:45 PM
Not all of them. Newmarket frinstance.

Drvmb1ggl3
Aug. 29, 2009, 03:49 PM
Legitimate question...

How do the Europeans manage to keep running on their turf courses then?

They spread their racing out over many different racecourses, each only races a few days at a time, then isn't raced on again for a month or more. Britain has 60 racecourses, most of them concentrated in an area the size of NY state. Ireland, about the same size as the state of Kentucky, has 26. France has like a zillion of them.

Drvmb1ggl3
Aug. 29, 2009, 03:51 PM
Not all of them. Newmarket frinstance.

Horses don't train on the racecourse at Newmarket. They train on a multitude of gallops nearby. Nor are they stabled on the racecourse, they are stabled at private yards scattered around Newmarket.
Horses in the US by and large train and are stabled on the same track they race on.

Equibrit
Aug. 29, 2009, 03:56 PM
The point is that it is not beyond the wit of man to have gallops off the racing surface for training, AS AT NEWMARKET. Duh ! As far as I know stabling doesn't make divots in racecourses.

Drvmb1ggl3
Aug. 29, 2009, 04:01 PM
Do they race at Newmarket, the Curragh or Chantilly (all massive training centres next to racecourses) 5 days a week for months on end?
No, thought not.

Btw, most of the training at Newmarket is done on... you guessed it.. SYNTHETIC surfaces, and not on grass.

Pronzini
Aug. 29, 2009, 04:18 PM
Here's the Newmarket schedule:

http://www.newmarketracecourses.co.uk/racing_centre/11873430542892.html

IOW, 2 days in April; 8 days in May; 4 days in June; 8 days in July; 7 days in August; 2 days in September; 7 days in October. or 38 days over 7 months.

Del Mar (just to give an example) is 5 days a week over 7 weeks and 1200 horses train on the same surface they run on.

Drvmb1ggl3
Aug. 29, 2009, 04:24 PM
Here's the Newmarket schedule:

http://www.newmarketracecourses.co.uk/racing_centre/11873430542892.html

IOW, 2 days in April; 8 days in May; 4 days in June; 8 days in July; 7 days in August; 2 days in September; 7 days in October. or 38 days over 7 months.

Del Mar (just to give an example) is 5 days a week over 7 weeks and 1200 horses train on the same surface they run on.

Plus, the July/Aug dates at Newmarket are run on a completely different course with it's own separate grandstand, over 1/2 mile away from the main grandstand, so you can subtract 15 days.

Horseforthecourse
Aug. 29, 2009, 04:45 PM
Thanks for the info!

Equibrit
Aug. 29, 2009, 04:45 PM
There is nor reason for a racing facility to ONLY have one course. If you lay things out cleverly you could have multiple courses. You could also space out the timing of race meetings.

mintano
Aug. 29, 2009, 05:05 PM
There is nor reason for a racing facility to ONLY have one course. If you lay things out cleverly you could have multiple courses.

Two big problems...land and $$$$$$$$$

Carol Ames
Aug. 29, 2009, 05:08 PM
Does anyone remember a study done, , i believe by a researcher from Cornell, which, said that in examining the remains of racetrack fatalities, there was evidence of earlier spinal injuries?

On the Farm
Aug. 29, 2009, 05:54 PM
Two big problems...land and $$$$$$$$$

And think of the rezoning battles to do just one track!!

Equibrit
Aug. 29, 2009, 06:31 PM
Why would rezoning be a factor ?

Plumcreek
Aug. 29, 2009, 06:36 PM
Why would rezoning be a factor ?

Cal-i-for-nia.

Where it has taken my friends 5 years to get to the approved plans stage for a second (allowed) house on their property.


Just wondering, if the synthetic surfaces are somehow replaced back to dirt, can we have that removed useless stuff for our arenas? Please?

Blinkers On
Aug. 29, 2009, 07:22 PM
The point is that it is not beyond the wit of man to have gallops off the racing surface for training, AS AT NEWMARKET. Duh ! As far as I know stabling doesn't make divots in racecourses.

And where in a place like Los Angeles is there an abundance of land? We don't have wide open spaces. It is a lovely thought though. This is one of the major differences between North American and Euro racing. Even our training centers are run pretty much like a racetrack.
There are some meets here that do have only turf racing. KY has one. For the moment I am drawing a blank on that one's name. It is a short meet in which grass racing is in a loosely marked field.
WE do have limitations for pace in every meaning of the word. AND our meets with the exception of the fair and Del Mar are long. Each track does have a short and long meet, but still the short meets do extensive damage to the turf courses.
We run on them, they are worked over 2x or so a week. Around the cones of course so as to preserve the rail.

Drvmb1ggl3
Aug. 29, 2009, 07:33 PM
The place you are thinking of in Ky is Kentucky Downs, a turf only course, and the closest thing in the US to a European style course with it's odd shape and undulating course. But, as you say it only races 5-7 days a year in late Sep, alternating with Turfway.
The Atlantic City track runs a short 5-6 days or so of all turf races in mid summer. They do that just to fulfill enough dates to keep their lisence.

Blinkers On
Aug. 29, 2009, 07:35 PM
THANK YOU!

Barnfairy
Aug. 30, 2009, 08:43 AM
Why would rezoning be a factor ?Suffolk Downs' proximity to wetlands comes to mind. The EPA is already all over them like white on rice (http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/9AB75DD5A2F9E6FA8525744A00751AD3): better not spill that muck tub on the way to the skip, or use a hose to wash a horse on the backside!

As previously posted, the funds and the land just do not exist to reconfigure these old tracks.

Equibrit
Aug. 30, 2009, 11:02 AM
But the funds are available for synthetic surfaces.

Drvmb1ggl3
Aug. 30, 2009, 11:24 AM
OK expert.
Tell us how it could be done. Since the thread is about Cali tracks, you pick one of the Cali tracks with synth and you tell us how it would be reconfigured to
i) Be turf.
ii) be able to handle any of the meets that happen at those tracks (once again you get to pick which meet)
iii) Have training gallops on turf that could accommodate over 2000 galloping on it daily.

Tell us how you would reconfigure it, how much adjoining land you would purchase if necessary (and yep, it would be necessary), where that land would come from, how much it would cost to buy the land.

So go for it, you've got Santa Anita, Hollywood, Del Mar and Golden Gate to choice from.

On the Farm
Aug. 30, 2009, 12:39 PM
Suffolk Downs' proximity to wetlands comes to mind. The EPA is already all over them like white on rice (http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/9AB75DD5A2F9E6FA8525744A00751AD3): better not spill that muck tub on the way to the skip, or use a hose to wash a horse on the backside!

As previously posted, the funds and the land just do not exist to reconfigure these old tracks.

Not just Suffolk. At Finger Lakes, the use of shampoo or soap for horse baths has been banned. And yes, security patrols every morning DURING TRAINING HOURS and hassles any barn that spills a little muck here and there at the bins.

Blinkers On
Aug. 30, 2009, 01:21 PM
I have always found it ironic that specific places have issue with "pollution" from track life and yet they install "garbage" based surfaces in many. Add the waxes polymers, etc....

Equibrit
Aug. 30, 2009, 01:21 PM
OK expert.
Tell us how it could be done. Since the thread is about Cali tracks, you pick one of the Cali tracks with synth and you tell us how it would be reconfigured to
i) Be turf.
ii) be able to handle any of the meets that happen at those tracks (once again you get to pick which meet)
iii) Have training gallops on turf that could accommodate over 2000 galloping on it daily.

Tell us how you would reconfigure it, how much adjoining land you would purchase if necessary (and yep, it would be necessary), where that land would come from, how much it would cost to buy the land.

So go for it, you've got Santa Anita, Hollywood, Del Mar and Golden Gate to choice from.

I'm not sure who you are addressing - but it can't be me as I am no expert.

Blinkers On
Aug. 30, 2009, 01:33 PM
Clearly

canyonoak
Aug. 30, 2009, 03:34 PM
Polytrack and other synthetic surfaces are much beloved in horse SPORT, no matter whether jumping or flat.

Why are there such problems when it comes to racing?

Is it the conventional shoeing, with toe grabs,etc?

Is it the speed?

Is it the conventional training methods?

I am seriously wondering about this, not arguing.

I thought the idea behind it was the Michael Dickinson's success with Tapeta, etc etc...

Pronzini
Aug. 30, 2009, 05:10 PM
Some of the issues with California synthetics appear to be climate related. Wax and rubber components do not necessarily translate well to a climate which is bone dry 9-10 months of the year and experiences up to 50 degree swings in temperatures in less than 24 hours and gets lots of UV radiation. The synthetics here have required significant tweaking of the formula, way more maintenance than expected and its still wearing out and separating every 6-12 months.

mintano
Aug. 30, 2009, 07:39 PM
But the funds are available for synthetic surfaces.

Funds aren't available anymore CA racing is going broke.

Blinkers On
Aug. 30, 2009, 08:04 PM
Heck, the state is broke let alone the racing community.

Acertainsmile
Aug. 30, 2009, 09:10 PM
I would love to see a turf gallop at Pimlico...they could always bull doze a neighborhood, no foul there....:(

Laurierace
Aug. 30, 2009, 09:17 PM
Hey speaking of that, did you get the MJC newsletter? I couldn't believe it when they said that if they don't get slots they could end up with a boutique meet at Pimlico around the Preakness and nothing else. I am not sure how I feel about that. Part of me would be ok with that I think. I would rather see Laurel go than Pimlico. I guess I have that luxury now that I moved into a training center!

Blueshadow
Aug. 30, 2009, 09:19 PM
I don't know - do they have to be IN LOS ANGELES? California does have an abundance of wide open spaces, particularly compared to the UK. Drive into the high desert, the low desert - land is cheap not 90 minutes from downtown LA. Lots of large beeding/training farms are going down the tubes. You can have flat, you can have undulating. You'd have to irrigate if you want turf of course. Maybe now's the time for change.

2000 racehorses train every day in Newmarket, as I recall (was there last summer) - pretty sure it's 2000. They train and work on a variety of synthetic track gallops, and on the turf gallops.

Re: pre-existing injuries and surfaces (earlier comment): pre-existing injuries have always been the biggest single correlate with catastrophic injury, since 199(?), when UC-Davis first began studying racehorse necropsies in conjunction with the CHRB.

In any case folks: there is no reliable data yet on catastrophic injury rates across surfaces. They haven't even published the rates for 2008, just a bunch of numbers which are impossible to interpret without being placed in a per start or starter form, let alone produced an actual time series sample (multiple years, same collection standards and techniques) that a statistician would take seriously as capturing with acceptable (within 5% confidence interval) accuracy actual population moments.

Blinkers On
Aug. 30, 2009, 09:34 PM
I don't know, for me, no thanks on the desert! I am sure someone could or would. BUT if we wanted to be on a training center 1 1/2 maybe 2 hours from LA then San Luis Rey would be where I'd go. SD is so much lovelier than LA IMO.
Traffic is a biatch in LA, and I prefer closer than farther. JMO I suppose. I am more than fine with the dirt on the training track at SA. It's safe. That's what matter to me.

I will never be clinging to any of the reports from Davis as per injuries as they are sku'd and incorrect. I'll take the anecdotal, real life experience of myself and others as we live on this stuff daily over what Dr Arthur has to say.
I can talk all day about the soft tissue and the hind end problems, the sore horses ad nauseum. But by this point it's a whole lot like riding a merry go round. It' been said time and time again

Drvmb1ggl3
Aug. 30, 2009, 09:48 PM
I don't know - do they have to be IN LOS ANGELES? California does have an abundance of wide open spaces, particularly compared to the UK. Drive into the high desert, the low desert - land is cheap not 90 minutes from downtown LA. Lots of large beeding/training farms are going down the tubes. You can have flat, you can have undulating. You'd have to irrigate if you want turf of course. Maybe now's the time for change.

2000 racehorses train every day in Newmarket, as I recall (was there last summer) - pretty sure it's 2000. They train and work on a variety of synthetic track gallops, and on the turf gallops.



Yes, upwards of 2000 horses train at Newmarket. But they do have over 2500 acres of gallops to train on though. That doesn't include the racecourse itself, which is HUGE, over 2½m from one end to the other with two separate courses, each with it's own grandstand. Nor does it include all the private yards scattered around Newmarket where these horses are stabled.
It's a similar situation at the Curragh, or Chantilly, actually both those may even be bigger.

Maybe it's doable, but don't know too many place close to large metropolitan areas in the US with several thousand acres of land that wouldn't cost a gazillion dollars. and there's definitely no way any of the existing tracks in California can be reconfigured to approach the scale of what you see elsewhere. The European ones have the advantage in that they've been in place for hundreds of years in some cases, plus the land in question is often commonage (i.e it doesn't belong to anyone, and thus can't ever be sold).

Also, you still have to address two facts,
i) much of the training in those large training centres is actually done on synthetic all-weather gallops. They are not all galloping around on grass. There's no way they could maintain the gallops if they were all grass. They too would get churned up.
According to the report that started this thread, there's a number of fatalities in just the training part of the equation in California, which is on synthetic also.
ii) how do you run an American style race meet with it's 10 races a day, five days a week for several months, on a grass course. Even Newmarket and the Curragh which are massive courses, each over 2½m in length, with plenty of available fresh ground, don't run any where close to that frequency.

The only way to recreate a turf racing culture would be to have a bunch of different racecourses to race on. Can you see 20 different tracks scattered around SoCal?
And that doesn't even address the water issue. I'm sure environmentalists and water conservations would love to see that much water being dumped on racecourses. The northern Europeans don't have to worry about that issue has they have the most perfect climate and subsoils in the world for growing nice lush grass.

Blueshadow
Aug. 30, 2009, 10:12 PM
I actually wasn't suggesting that they train exclusively on turf, but if you want it in the desert you would have to irrigate, just as some of the large breeding farms do now. There are a number of breeding and training farms I can think of with a lot of basic infrastructure already in place. Hundreds of acres, certainly, per farm. I just don't think it's the "impossible" task that people seem to suggest. Certainly more affordable than land in Newmarket...

Not sure why the need for so many racetracks. If the argument is that we have higher fatalities because the tracks are not only trained on daily, but subject to long race meets, then rotate across the (surviving) so cal and no cal tracks with a week here and there, allowing the surfaces to recover. The number of racing dates has already had to be slashed this year due to a paucity of entries. Why the need for continual racing anyway? The industry in California is in big trouble. Maybe reducing the number of racing dates and races, trying to increase field sizes, would be good for business and good for the horses...and hence good for the business.

In any case, I think the point is rather mute right now given the absence of a decent sample to tell you the impact of track surface.

Pronzini
Aug. 30, 2009, 10:53 PM
I actually wasn't suggesting that they train exclusively on turf, but if you want it in the desert you would have to irrigate, just as some of the large breeding farms do now. There are a number of breeding and training farms I can think of with a lot of basic infrastructure already in place. Hundreds of acres, certainly, per farm. I just don't think it's the "impossible" task that people seem to suggest. Certainly more affordable than land in Newmarket...

Not sure why the need for so many racetracks. If the argument is that we have higher fatalities because the tracks are not only trained on daily, but subject to long race meets, then rotate across the (surviving) so cal and no cal tracks with a week here and there, allowing the surfaces to recover. The number of racing dates has already had to be slashed this year due to a paucity of entries. Why the need for continual racing anyway? The industry in California is in big trouble. Maybe reducing the number of racing dates and races, trying to increase field sizes, would be good for business and good for the horses...and hence good for the business.

In any case, I think the point is rather mute right now given the absence of a decent sample to tell you the impact of track surface.

Next time you are at Hollywood or Del Mar, take a close look at what passes for turf in Southern California. Pool tables have more fuzz. Santa Anita has some natural advantages since it generally rains during its meet and the temperatures are more moderate. But the Oak Tree meet is another story. It just requires tremendous amounts of water and management to cultivate a deep rooted turf course that can withstand a few races a day.

Blinkers On
Aug. 30, 2009, 11:21 PM
Frankly my chin has more "fuzz" these days.. eek!!!!

SA is really lucky because the rain we do get YEARLY happens during their big meet. We get two maybe three weeks of rain total for the entire year. That was one of the issues I had with putting in an all weather surface in S Cal. We have extreme heat, a couple/few weeks of rain and a week or two of sub freezing temps in the early am to high fifties mid sixties for a week maybe two every year like clockwork. The synthetic tracks have been originally designed for places that are much cooler and have actual weather. We for 90% of the year are hot and dry and fire season. We are now in fire season.
It was my understanding that the Poly was "created" individually for all of the climates it encounters in NA. What are the stats outside of CA on their respective circuits with their own individual weather systems and compositions of surface. I would be interested to see the differences of the individual surfaces in different climates to see how different they compounds are if they are.

Glimmerglass
Sep. 2, 2009, 11:02 AM
Another victim from Tuesday (9/1) at Del Mar (http://www.drf.com/news/article/106883.html) upping the fatality number to 12 in this meet.


.. maiden filly Bell Canyon Road broke down on the Del Mar main track.

The response time to tend to Bell Canyon Road was quick, which was in contrast to a delay in reaching a stricken animal during training hours one morning before the meet started here. The warning horn sounded immediately Tuesday, and the horse ambulance arrived shortly thereafter.

But the fractured sesamoids in her right front leg were so severe that she needed to be euthanized, according to her trainer, Barry Abrams.

[Trainer Eoin Harty] ran down from the box seats to assist, and Dr. Helmut von Bleucher put a Kimzey splint on Bell Canyon Road to try and stabilize the injury before she was put in the ambulance.

The CHRB can spin this all they want but with all due respect no dirt track is having this type of mess.

Blinkers On
Sep. 2, 2009, 12:03 PM
ya, it's just that bad. It is so sad to me. I know intentions were good, but the research was less than acceptable.

Glimmerglass
Sep. 3, 2009, 12:06 PM
For the statistic lovers here is Jay Hovdey's column in regards to the released numbers -

DRF 9-2-09 "Raw data not the whole synthetic story" (http://www.drf.com/news/article/106916.html)

excerpt


Here in the back row of Stats 101, we chant the familiar quote, "There are lies, damn lies, and statistics." a mantra tracing to Mark Twain, Benjamin Disraeli, and probably Moses himself. Their spirits groaned again at last week's racing board meeting.

To properly interpret Kinde's data, it would have helped to have known, (a) how many and what kind of Thoroughbreds raced on synthetics as opposed to dirt, (b) over which of the four different synthetic surfaces in California those injuries took place, and, (c) comparative totals with the 2007 postmortem report, which would have indicated whether or not (d) there was anything to be excited about in the first place.

But there it hung: Synthetics 19, Dirt, 1. Scoreboard, baby.

It is not clear why a preliminary report was presented before the final version of postmortem package of data was ready for public consumption. Those who lean toward conspiracy theories would suggest that someone's agenda was served by putting synthetic surfaces in the worst possible light, but as press leaks go, this wasn't very subtle.

Someone cited GGF:


Interestingly, there have been relatively few complaints about the Tapeta surface at Golden Gate.

Blinkers On
Sep. 3, 2009, 03:13 PM
Glimmer, I think climate plays a role in the success for the Tapeta. It is cool year round. 57 or 70 degrees in summer with a few days a year over 80. It rains and it drains. IMO the Tapeta is the best of the bunch, though it is not without it's faults. I am a lucky one, I have been over all of the synthetics.
I had a horse at SA that came from GGF, he stayed with me at SA after running. I worked him 2x after the race and he was bordering on very unsound. I sent him back north with the expectation that he be retired. He broke a sesamoid at a jog on the Tapeta. Which track was a fault.. IMO neither as the horse should have been retired. I actually blame the N Cal vet, as does my S Cal vet. It was an avoidable injury.
I think a study on which track suffers the most injury would be interesting as would a study on how many are turned out, length of lay up, what injuries were retired or turned out or euth'd. Rate of injury per start.
Jill Bailey said something interesting to me months ago on a day that 2 horses broke down at SA on the main. She said most of the horses that see the blue room have regular toe grabs on. They aren't supposed to have reg's on, we know that so why are some dummies so tangled up in what they "used to do." to the detriment of their horses

Glimmerglass
Sep. 3, 2009, 09:47 PM
Randy Moss (ESPN) weighs in 9-3-09 "The synthetic debate rages " (http://mossblog.typepad.com/randy-moss-blog/2009/09/the-synthetic-debate-rages.html)

Blinkers On
Sep. 3, 2009, 10:20 PM
Good article

Pronzini
Sep. 4, 2009, 11:48 AM
Another view from Hovdey:

http://www.drf.com/news/article/106916.html

Personally I think we are beyond bean counting and study. Too many good horsemen have lost too many good horses (either temporarily or permanently) and when they have cried foul, management including Dr Arthur publicly blamed them. If this is a political hot potato, its not just the synthetic skeptics that made it that way.

Incidentally, two more went down at Del Mar this week. :no:

Blinkers On
Sep. 4, 2009, 01:52 PM
It seems like it has taken forever for there to be some semblance of truth about the surfaces. Frankly I am irate. The sheer #'s of horses injured and euthanized due to someone's lack of information combined with a boat load of power, has been unnecessary and had been avoidable.
In 2007 I gave synthetic surfaces 5 years max before we returned to dirt. I hope that is being generous, I hope someone can afford to put dirt in;)

Glimmerglass
Sep. 28, 2009, 08:37 PM
What has to be a bit of an April Fools joke come too soon ...

BloodHorse 9-28-09 "Del Mar Accredited by NTRA Alliance" (http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/52721/del-mar-accredited-by-ntra-alliance)


The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Sept. 28 that the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif., has been fully accredited by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance following a complete review of all racing operations at the facility. .....

Why am I reminded of this type of 1960's sitcom when I read a report like that (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34ag4nkSh7Q)?

pinkdiamondracing
Sep. 29, 2009, 08:53 AM
I didn't like the idea of tracks being made up of synthetic surfaces in the first place. My personal feeling is that if horses were meant to run on carpet-- then pastures would have been carpeted!!!
I have personal injury experience to the whole "more injuries" theory-- my BLM Mustang lead pony who had never been sore a day in the 8 years I had been riding him on dirt tracks strained a suspensory ligament on the "Polytrash" three years ago, and it gives him trouble to this day.

I can not stand the "Polytrash"!!!!!:mad::mad::mad: Bring back the dirt of the old days!!!!!:yes::yes::yes: JMHO