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tapeta vs polytrack vs dirt

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  • tapeta vs polytrack vs dirt

    Awhile ago I asked about these 2 different materials. and now was wondering if anyone can compare the 2 with colder temps and how many breakdowns have occurred on each? Is this really the answer to prevention of breakdowns?
    Dirt tracks have been around for years and yes horses broke down but is there any truth to people saying some of the horses are not healthy? so there appear to be more?
    Please do not flame me for asking, I am just curious about how we can prevent losing our wonderful animals...
    Mai Tai aka Tyler RIP March 1994-December 2011
    Grief is the price we pay for love- Gretchen Jackson
    "And here she comes. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's ZENYATTA!"

  • #2
    Originally posted by ivy62 View Post
    Awhile ago I asked about these 2 different materials. and now was wondering if anyone can compare the 2 with colder temps and how many breakdowns have occurred on each?
    I don't know the answer to these two questions. Hopefully someone else can talk more about the specifics of the surfaces in the extreme temps. But to my knowledge, there isn't a thorough compilation of breakdowns per surface per year published anywhere.

    Is this really the answer to prevention of breakdowns?
    Prevention of ALL breakdowns? No. Horses have still been injured on artificial surfaces. But the consensus seems to be that horses break down LESS on synthetics than they do on traditional dirt. However, without those elusive stats of breakdowns per year, that's hard to say. There is evidence horses get less sore working on synthetic surfaces and can work more frequently. However, I often wonder if that's a catch-22, because if you're working more frequently, doesn't that put you at higher risk for injury? But I digress...

    Dirt tracks have been around for years and yes horses broke down but is there any truth to people saying some of the horses are not healthy? so there appear to be more?
    I'm not sure I understand this part of the question. Can you clarify a little what you mean by people saying the horses are not healthy? In what regards? All horses? Or just the ones the breakdown?

    I think part of the reason there appears to be "more" breakdowns lately is that we have had really, really, really bad luck with breakdowns in the public eye, i.e. nationally broadcast G1 races. I personally feel this is more bad luck than anything.

    Also, racing has never been so accessible to the public. We have cable TV stations broadcasting 24/7, we have internet forums where people can share news, etc. Twenty years ago, very few people outside the track would have known about that random horse that broke down in the 5th race. But today, I can watch that race live on TV, then get online and post about it. Which is a GOOD thing. But I do think it gives a false impression that injuries are on the rise.
    Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

    Comment


    • #3
      before i begin, let me state that i am an advocate for synthetic surfaces.

      i have galloped on both Tapeta (Fair Hill and Presque Isle) and Polytrack (Keeneland) and could not tell the difference between them simply from the perspective of riding on them. Last winter I was at Fair Hill and the track performed very well except when we had an ice storm ... but I remember we were working / breezing horses when the temps. were in the teens, we would not have been able to do that with a dirt track. Each of the three surfaces (two tapeta's and one poly) I felt were superior to riding on dirt in normal weather, and for sure more so in wet weather.

      ok, did not really answer your question, but just some experiences.

      cheers, alex

      Comment


      • #4
        Ok, where do we begin on this one. No, the new surfaces are not going to be any cure all. Not by a long shot. http://hoofcare.blogspot.com/2007/11...racing-on.html

        The Jockey Club is working very hard on this problem of breakdowns in their health and safety of the racehorse summit which is to my knowledge still ongoing.http://www.jockeyclub.com/mediaCenter.asp?story=265

        This issue is an embarrassment and a national disgrace. No other country has as many breakdowns as the US. There are many reasons for this. Training methods, no turnout, year round racing, poor breeding, substandard shoeing in many places, and the biggest of all that I'll wager nobody will touch with a 100' pole:

        IT"S THE DRUGS STUPID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        All of this stuff needs to be addressed. Hopefully when this is over it will be.
        George

        Comment


        • #5
          some would argue, we need drugs if we persist on using dirt as the principle racing surface. cheers, alex

          Comment


          • #6
            You might have a point if any good came of it.

            I've watched medication rules get more and more liberalized yet have never seen anything positive come from it. Instead we see more and more injuries with more and more drugs being used. Hmmmmm do we see a pattern developing?

            If I had any say over it there wouldn't even be lasix. If they can't run without it start breeding some that can
            George

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by JHUshoer20 View Post
              This issue is an embarrassment and a national disgrace. No other country has as many breakdowns as the US. There are many reasons for this. Training methods, no turnout, year round racing, poor breeding, substandard shoeing in many places, and the biggest of all that I'll wager nobody will touch with a 100' pole:
              Supporting stats for that claim for "most breakdowns"?

              I presume we wouldn't be talking strictly raw numbers but rather a breakdown [is that death or simply injury w/inability to finish race] per number of start. To putforth an underlying suggestion breakdowns are an absolute rarity in Australia, Ireland, England, France, Italy, Germany, India, Hong Kong, Japan, Canada, etc etc is amazing.

              George Washington, may he rest in peace, died in the US but was bred and trained overseas so do 'those horses' get backed out of the stats?

              I didn't know that US racing was across the board so horrible. Sham on me for being a fan.

              Comment


              • #8
                If you have access to the BloodHorse, this week's issue is all about surfaces. They've interviewed owners, trainers, jockeys, farriers and breeders about their preferences.
                www.laurienberenson.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by alexbrown4 View Post
                  before i begin, let me state that i am an advocate for synthetic surfaces.

                  i have galloped on both Tapeta (Fair Hill and Presque Isle) and Polytrack (Keeneland) and could not tell the difference between them simply from the perspective of riding on them. Last winter I was at Fair Hill and the track performed very well except when we had an ice storm ... but I remember we were working / breezing horses when the temps. were in the teens, we would not have been able to do that with a dirt track. Each of the three surfaces (two tapeta's and one poly) I felt were superior to riding on dirt in normal weather, and for sure more so in wet weather.

                  ok, did not really answer your question, but just some experiences.

                  cheers, alex
                  To help answer the OP's original question, do you think the artificial surfaces rode consistently in the freezing temps versus the normal temps?

                  We all know it holds up better in wet conditions, etc. But it seems that everyone thinks one of the gremlins lurking in the closet is what the artificial stuff will do when it freezes.

                  So far, the answer has been nothing. The surface performs exactly the same regardless of temperature. But I think where a lot of the cynics have a problem is that a surface unaffected by extreme temperatures seems too good to be true. But I guess if the footing isn't holding a lot of moisture, why would freezing temps affect it...
                  Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Glimmerglass View Post
                    Supporting stats for that claim for "most breakdowns"?
                    Jockey Club. This is what prompted them to undertake this project


                    I didn't know that US racing was across the board so horrible. Sham on me for being a fan.
                    Being a fan is a good thing. God Bless you for that. Being in denial that there is a problem is not a good thing though. Matter of fact it gives ammunition to the PETA types. The sport needs to be policed better from within or it will be from outside.

                    Firstly, past perfs and race records should list all medications given for benefit of breeders. Captain Bodgit never had lasix and still ran on that badly bowed tendon. How many knew that horse was drug free?

                    New York is now cracking down on anabolic steroids. I hope others follow their lead. Humans go to jail for this stuff. Why is it tolerated for horses?

                    In reference to George Washington,
                    Monmouth Park has shamefully been a leader in such injuries for the last 2 years. Horseman there were worried that the track might not be acceptable to hold a Breeders Cup. The thing they got lucky about was that it was only that one horse and not several more.

                    The other side of that coin is that horses that can run fast enough to hurt themselves usually will. This is why this stuff is so high profile and more often than not to the best ones.

                    I'll not name names on the internet, but we all have known trainers that ought not be in the horse business. Some real meaningful drug policies will rid the backside of such vermin.
                    George

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Texarkana View Post
                      We all know it holds up better in wet conditions, etc. But it seems that everyone thinks one of the gremlins lurking in the closet is what the artificial stuff will do when it freezes.
                      River Downs? I think, place in Northern Ky that holds winter racing has already had some adverse effects from cold last winter.
                      George

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        turfway park has polytrack (northern kentucky).

                        my experience at Fair Hill last winter was the surface (tapeta) handled the cold temperatures very well.

                        cheers, alex

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          what I was refering to was the breeding of soft bone and speed only and also with the use of drugs running horses that shouldn't be running.....
                          I also am of the mind set that drugs shouldn't be used..they do not in other countries why here?
                          I am a long time race fan and always wonder about the welfare of the horse running at the tender age of 2 vs waiting a year would it make a diference?
                          Mai Tai aka Tyler RIP March 1994-December 2011
                          Grief is the price we pay for love- Gretchen Jackson
                          "And here she comes. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's ZENYATTA!"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I do feel modern medicine is both a blessing and a curse to racing.

                            I think over the past decade we have really seen the shift from horses' performances being abetted by drugs and medicines to horses becoming dependant on them to perform. Horses that would not have been able to hold up to the rigors of racing in the past can now be legally nursed along with lasix, adequan, monthly joint injections, a bute regimen, gastrogard to help keep them from colicing, reserpine between races to numb their brains... and then go on reproduce more generations of drug-dependant horses.

                            But I don't think this is necessarily limited to racing, but rather equestrian disciplines on the whole.

                            And of course, just like synthetic tracks aren't a cure-all, banning all drugs wouldn't be a cure-all either. If only it were that easy.
                            Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              While I was visiting Kentucky this past spring, I made a point of checking out morning works at Keeneland. I had the opportunity to see the virtue of polytrack at its absolute best: it had been raining the whole night before, and the skies erupted in a downpour while I was there. Yet, the track surface held up beautifully --see for yourself: not a puddle to be seen-- and works continued on as usual.

                              Avoiding the debacle of slop that was the Monmouth Breeders' Cup (during which George Washington broke down)...now that in my estimation is the greatest value of synthetic surfaces.

                              Synthetics are still being perfected (As I recall, initially there was trouble with the wax element changing in texture from the cool mornings compared to the heat of the afternoon in CA), and I think there simply isn't enough data at this point to say for certain how effective synthetics are at reducing breakdowns. To say 11 horses brokedown at Santa Anita so far means very little by itself: how many horses broke down in the same amount of time at SA last year, and the year before that, or compared to next year, and the year after that?

                              TB racing in Europe, Australia and other countries is predominantly on turf, over much longer & varying courses, is it not? Take a look at Drumbiggle's Google thread on this forum. Turf racing in this country on our wee little inner ovals, for the most part, is a joke by comparison.

                              Speed kills. The emphasis in this country is increasingly on short races 6, 5, even 4 f. 'Another big difference between TB races in America and racing elsewhere.

                              Drugs and poor training practices definitely play a part. The horse I fostered this summer, who rebowed horribly during his final race, had no business being back on the track whatsoever. He had first bowed two years earlier; he had less than a year to recover as his next race was exactly one year after his injury (he had to have been in training months prior to his comeback.) His rebow was inevitable; he had been pumped so full of steroids to keep him going he had more attitude than his body could handle. Ultrasound revealed such extensive scarring from the initial bow, there was just not enough stretch left in that tendon to handle galloping at racing speed (and he was a sprinter.) Add race day bute and honking front toe grabs to that mix and it's a miracle that boy can still walk at all. What gets me is that in the past year, his performance never justified his comeback. How sad that he couldn't have been retired the first time. He started racing when he was 3.

                              On the other hand, I have my Rasor D --who began racing in July of his 2 year old year, retired sound at age 10 after 130 starts, 125 of which were on plain ol' dirt-- to prove that there are still iron horses in this country who have had good trainers along the way.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                This is a very sore subject for me, as I think the jury is still out on synthetic surfaces. They need to go through a few years of maintenance and weather conditions, plus added to that is the main reason for an increase in breakdowns or injuries (do we ever really know how many horses finish a race, yet when back in the barn and cooling out are found to have suffered soft tissue damage, or a sesamoid fracture -- non-life threatening, but certainly career compromising/ending?).

                                I believe the main reason is the ability for anyone to get a trainer's license, and the fact that horses are drilled, injected, drilled, run, and never get a break. The claiming incentives (and majority of any track's card is claimers) reinforce the "inject, run, lose in the claim box" pattern that so many horses get stuck in. The trainer who claims a horse doesn't know what has been done to his joints by the previous trainer(s), but doesn't mind going into them again because he'll lose the horse in a race or two to another trainer.

                                There are people out there in charge of dozens of horses who wouldn't know a horse was starting to get sore or lame until he walked out of his stall on three legs.

                                Owner pressure to run, run, run and trainers who are afraid to lose the account is another huge reason for sore horses. (Owners, who, BTW, sit in an office and couldn't pick out their horse in the barn if he was one of two!!).

                                Aargh--sorry, hit a sore spot with me...
                                Turning For Home, Inc.
                                Philadelphia Park Racehorse Retirement Program
                                www.patha.org
                                turningforhome@patha.org

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Barbara,
                                  All of what you say is true. Claiming by it's very nature doesn't encourage people to do right by the horse. After all why should they? For someone else's benefit?

                                  Problem is the issue of fragility in the horses is a problem at all levels of racing.

                                  I would also say that no trainer should have any more than a maximum of 20 head of horses in his barn. This is how it was done in the past before the modern era of white bridled hollywood type trainers.

                                  It should also be absolutely forbidden for any trainer to have any financial interest or shares in any stallion anywhere. This has the potential to create ethical conflicts of interest that would never be tolerated in any other business.

                                  Additionally, Bloodstock Agents ought to be licensed and trainers should never act in that capacity, ever.

                                  The issue of 2 year old racing is controversial. If done properly is not as bad as people think. In fact, I read some studies that had shown that horses starting later were more likely to get hurt due to never having had the conditioning at a younger age. Not to mention the competitive disadvantage from the lack of experience. Is really a lot like asking a college student to play football without having played in high school. Just doesn't really work.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    this subject appears to be getting a little off topic, but to add my 2 cents ... i spoke to an assistant of a claiming trainer, and he said they could not afford to keep a horse longer than about two months (from claiming it to losing it) because the dirt tracks just beat them up ...

                                    you see the long term effects of the "system" when you visit a kill auction and see the thoroughbreds there ... a HUGE ankle or knee or whatever

                                    cheers, alex

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Here's the timely article in the Bloodhorse that LaurieB mentioned regarding synthetics:

                                      Vote of Confidence for Synthetics
                                      12/6/07
                                      www.bloodhorse.com

                                      Elliston cited statistics showing that the biggest advantage of Polytrack over the previous dirt main track has been a decrease in catastrophic breakdowns. Turfway experienced 24 such incidents during the final year with the conventional surface, a figure that fell to three during the first fall year with Polytrack.
                                      Regarding Hollywood Park:

                                      He cited statistics showing that in 2007 there were six catastrophic injuries among the 10,265 incidents of “strenuous exercise,” a category that groups morning workouts and afternoon races. By comparison, in 2006 there were 14 fatal injuries from 8,132 incidents of strenuous exercise.
                                      In my opinion, we need more tracks to come forward with stats like these.

                                      If you read the article, it also mentions some of the drawbacks, such as slower times and the effects of temp changes. The general tone of the article is quite positive towards the synthetics. But even this article says they won't prevent all injuries.
                                      Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by alexbrown4 View Post
                                        this subject appears to be getting a little off topic, but to add my 2 cents ... i spoke to an assistant of a claiming trainer, and he said they could not afford to keep a horse longer than about two months (from claiming it to losing it) because the dirt tracks just beat them up ...
                                        I'd be inclined to believe their pretty well pre-beat when they get them if the trainer specializes in claiming.
                                        you see the long term effects of the "system" when you visit a kill auction and see the thoroughbreds there ... a HUGE ankle or knee or whatever

                                        cheers, alex
                                        True enough, I'd still be more inclined to attribute that to cortisone shots and veterinary malpractice than I would surfaces.

                                        Proponents of this stuff say the Tapeta is supposed to be best. Opening day at Presque Isle had a nasty breakdown resulting in euthanasia right in front of the crowd in the very first race.

                                        I realize nobody wants to see harm come to horses but these surfaces haven't enough time and research behind them for everybody to be jumping on a bandwagon. They need to slow down a little and compile some real data beyond the junk science used by those with a financial interest in pushing the stuff.

                                        At this point I believe pinning hopes on racing surfaces is barking up the wrong tree.
                                        George

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