Synthetic Surfaces on Agenda in New York

New York state officials will be holding a session with racing industry officials to consider the installation of synthetic surfaces at the state’s racetracks.

The July 29 forum in Saratoga Springs will feature commentary by jockeys, trainers, track officials, veterinarians and others. Among those expected to attend the panel discussions, according to the state Racing and Wagering Board, are trainers Todd Pletcher Nick Zito, and Mark Casse, New York Racing Association President Charles Hayward, jockeys Edgar Prado, John Velasquez, Garrett Gomez Javier Castellano, and Alex Brown and Dr. Rick Arthur of the California Racing Board.

The forum, to begin at 9 a.m. at Fasig-Tipton’s facility in Saratoga, will be led by the New York State Task Force on Retired Racehorses, a state panel whose authority also includes considering whether to require synthetic surfaces at tracks. It is co-chaired by racing board Chairman Daniel Hogan and state Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker.

“Safety is now at the forefront of issues affecting the racing industry and it is incumbent upon this task force to undertake a cost-benefit analysis to help determine if these artificial surfaces are the best and safest route for our horses and the jockeys who ride them,” Hogan said in a written statement. The all-day session will include five separate panels to consider the issue.

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