Del Mar plans to replace its Polytrack surface with dirt, track president and chief executive officer Joe Harper said Feb. 18.
Turfway Park expects much warmer temperatures the week of Feb. 16 that will allow proper maintenance of its Polytrack surface and a return to live racing Feb. 21.
The company that owns three of the four racetracks with synthetic surfaces in England said Oct. 9 it will launch the "All-Weather Championships," a series of qualifiers and a championship day April 18, 2014.
According to a March 8 Jockey Club release based on information collected in the Equine Injury Database, fatal breakdowns in North American Thoroughbred races stayed about the same in 2012 at just under two per 1,000 starts.
Synthetic surfaces still have the lowest number of catastrophic breakdowns per 1,000 starts, but overall fatalities for all surfaces didn't change much from 2009 to 2011, according to Equine Injury Database statistics.
Regular testing and proactive investment are keys to improving the safety records of racetracks, a co-founder of the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory said Oct. 16 at the fourth Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit.
Keeneland reported business gains for the first three days of its spring meet, including record attendance for a three-day period.
Officials at Turfway Park, which at the end of 2010 completed five full years of racing on Polytrack, said the results have been largely positive, and there is no thought of returning to dirt.
There has been one racing fatality following a breakdown in the first eight days of competition on Santa Anita Park's new dirt track, according to the California Horse Racing Board equine medical director.
- By Tom LaMarra
An analysis of statistics compiled by the Equine Injury Database for a two-year period shows a slight decline in the number of catastrophic injuries, officials said Dec. 15.
The California Horse Racing Board said Sept. 7 it is working with Santa Anita Park management and horsemen on a waiver for the MI Developments-owned racetrack to replace its synthetic surface with dirt.
As people rush to takes sides in the great dirt-versus-synthetic surface debate, Dr. Mick Peterson and Santa Anita Park track superintendent Richard Tedesco suggested consistency and maintenance trump type of surface.
Equine fatalities in California held steady during the 2008-09 fiscal year, although Thoroughbred deaths at the state's racetracks decreased by more than 10% over the preceding year, data shows.
Trials held at the new Meydan racing facility in advance of the Dubai Racing Carnival received a thumbs-up, according to the Dubai Racing Club.
Santa Anita Park officials have indicated the California track's main racing surface will be replaced, but it remains to be seen if the new surface will be synthetic or dirt.
Bear Stables' Fatal Bullet, second in last year's Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), returns to a synthetic surface in the grade III Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland for its Oct. 9 opening-day program.
The Breeders' Cup board of directors Sept. 11 said the organization will increase the purse of the $5-million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) by $1 million if Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta start in the 1 1/4-mile event Nov. 7 at Santa Anita Park.
Part I: Hall of Famer John Nerud talks about the high-profile trainers whose careers he helped start, the need for a national commissioner for Thoroughbred racing, changes with the Breeders' Cup World Championship, and more. Watch Now
Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation announced May 28 that it is providing $50,000 to fund an innovative research project designed to create a "state-of-the-art" method of assessing racetrack surfaces.
"Injuries and fatalities are a major problem in the (Thoroughbred) racing industry," said Jacob Setterbo, BS, a graduate student at the University of California, Davis, during the 2008 American Association of Equine Practitioners convention (held Dec. 6-10 in San Diego, Calif.). "There are about two racing-related equine deaths per day due primarily to musculoskeletal injury (in the U.S. and Canada)."
A month after Turfway Park experienced eight catastrophic breakdowns during its 21-day holiday meet, state veterinarian Dr. Bryce Peckham and Turfway president Bob Elliston were on hand at a Feb. 10 Kentucky Horse Racing Commission meeting in Lexington to present commissioners a much more positive report.
Larry Jones might have one of the top Kentucky Derby (gr. I) hopefuls this year, and he plans to bring the horse to Arkansas.
The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association will discuss aftercare for racehorses, equine medication and drug-testing thresholds, and synthetic surfaces during its winter convention Jan. 30-Feb. 2 in Hollywood, Fla.
Though champion Curlin may not have handled the synthetic racing surface as well as some of his European rivals did in the $5-million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), Santa Anita Park's Pro-Ride racing surface performed safely during the two-day World Championships Oct. 24-25.
Handle for the 25th Breeders' Cup World Championships was up 5.5% over last year's event, according to preliminary data released Oct. 26.
Jerry Bailey said that any disadvantage suffered in the past by European horses on the dirt has been taken away with the introduction of a new synthetic surface for this year's Breeders' Cup.
Keeneland, whose fall meet begins Oct. 3, is launching a "PolyCapping" online database to provide more information for handicappers.
The first Quarter Horse race at Turfway Park since 1972, and the first held anywhere on Polytrack, will be held the evening of Sept. 12 at the Northern Kentucky track.
Live racing and training at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course will be suspended following the Sept. 20 racing program for a resurfacing project of the entire racetrack cushion. The unexpected shutdown of the Pennsylvania racetrack is believed to be due to track conditions that have resulted in a high number of recent catastrophic breakdowns, based on information from horsemen.
Evening Attire, the 10-year-old gelding who qualified for a starting berth to the inaugural running of the Breeders' Cup Marathon by winning the Greenwood Cup by 8 1/4 lengths at Philadelphia Park Casino & Racetrack in July, will be entered as a main-track-only participant for the $80,000 John's Call Stakes at Saratoga Aug. 17.
Quarter Horses will race on the synthetic Polytrack for the first time Sept. 12 when Turfway Park hosts the $25,000 John Deere Turfway Park Sprint Stakes. The race will be part of the Friday night program of Thoroughbred racing during Turfway's late summer/early fall meet.
A July 18 forum on equine welfare and safety gave participants a chance to offer a perspective not provided during a June congressional hearing at which the horseracing industry was slammed, horsemen said.
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.
Santa Anita Park announced June 23 that its main track will undergo a complete overhaul beginning July 14, and will be reconstituted with a mixture of Pro-Ride synthetic material.
After track superintendents from across the nation discussed various methods for maintaining their individual surfaces at the Track Superintendent Field Day at Keeneland June 3, Dr. Mick Peterson offered ways to apply what was learned and make the necessary changes to lessen on-track injuries.
The second Elastikon Equine Research Award, funded through a grant made by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products Co. to the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, has been awarded to Dr. Wayne McIlwraith of Colorado State University and Dr. Mick Peterson of the University of Maine for their research designed to enhance the safety of racetracks for horses.
Replacement of the asphalt base is likely the next step in the ongoing efforts to improve Santa Anita Park's synthetic surface.
A two-day flooding of Santa Anita Park's synthetic surface is one of the final tests management plans before making a decision on the future of the main-track surface. Track president Ron Charles said the surface will be flooded following training hours May 28.
Two exhibition races for Standardbred pacers were held at Keeneland the afternoon of May 21 to give the principals in a racetrack under construction in Alberta, Canada, an idea as to whether a synthetic surface can be used for both breeds.
A Magna Entertainment Corp. executive said the company has no plans to sell either of its Maryland racetracks but indicated the results of a statewide November referendum on slot machines could play a role in any decision.
The Task Force on Retired Racehorses, a state-appointed committee, has planned a summit in Saratoga Springss, N.Y., July 29 to explore the potential for the installation of synthetic surfaces at the state's racetracks.
Live Thoroughbred racing will return to the Erie, Pa., area May 9 when Presque Isle Downs commences its 2008 meet. Presque Isle's 100-day season will extend through Sept. 27, with a daily post time of 5:30 p.m. EDT.
The number of catastrophic injuries on dirt tracks has gone up while the corresponding number on synthetic surfaces has gone down, according to a revision of a report first given at the March 17 Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit.
Delaware environmental secretary John Hughes has issued a Coastal Zone Act permit to Michael Dickinson's synthetic-surface company Tapeta Footings to operate a new manufacturing facility in New Castle, Del.
An authority on drug testing who has worked with the United States Olympic Committee and is now advising the horse racing industry has urged caution on efforts to regulate anabolic steroids.
Warren Williamson was voted owner of the year, and his racemare Nashoba's Key was chosen horse of the year, in the Thoroughbred of California's annual owner awards selection.
Experts from all avenues of the racing industry presented statistics and opinions on synthetic surfaces and Santa Anita track president Ron Charles said the track will replace its Cushion Track as a six-hour special meeting called by the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) concluded Feb. 20.
The Los Angeles media market and its attractiveness to sponsors played a key role in the decision by Breeders' Cup to tab Santa Anita Park as a host site for two consecutive years, Breeders' Cup president Greg Avioli said.
The Breeders' Cup World Championships will be held in 2009 at Santa Anita Park, the California racetrack that will serve as this year's host. It marks the first time the event will be held at the same host site two years in a row.
Golden Gate Fields experienced an increase in all-sources handle and a decrease in catastrophic injuries during its first meet with a synthetic surface.
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