- A commenter wrote:
The quotes by Del Mar president Harper reveal a flaw in all these statistics about polytrack safety. It is unfair to compare breakdown rates when the pre-race vet exams for synthetic surfacers are tightened to eliminate more unsound horses. This is especially important when the providers of these surveys have a vested interest in showing benefits for synthetic surfaces.Those are fair points to be sure. But it certainly raises in my mind the question of why all tracks aren't making a similar effort to screen out unsound horses. Not only a safety issue, but protection of the betting public as well. Regarding Del Mar's stats however, safety involves more than just a safe racing surface, so I think that they would deserve full credit no matter how they go about it. Unfortunately, they seem to be off to just a so-so start with those two workout incidents in the first week.
Another reader, or maybe the same one, commented:
We know from last year that you can't pay attention to anything Harper says.The racing during the first week certainly makes one wonder why Harper was so adamantly opposed to watering the track in the afternoon last year; at least in terms of time and bias. We'll have to wait and see as far as injuries go.
He staunchly defended the surface last year yet made damn sure this year that everybody was made aware that the surface has been redone.
Artificial surfaces have yet to prove anything.
But I disagree with the notion that "artificial surfaces have yet to prove anything." No, they have not been a magic elixir to eliminate breakdowns, kickback, and maintenance problems, as some would have had us believe. But what I think they have proven, based on the successful meetings such as those at Hollywood and Arlington, is that you can conduct a completely viable race meeting on an artificial surface, without sloppy tracks and without monotonous speed biases. I've always maintained that, all other things, including the injury rate, being equal, those two benefits would make the synthetic experiment worthwhile by themselves.
I mean, just ask those up in Saratoga tonight who, given the rain today and the threat of some severe storms tomorrow, are wondering whether they should be handicapping for a fast or off track, and whether to bother with the grass races! (While turf races still will come off at a synthetic track, far less scratch and the form is usually at least a little comparable.) I liked a couple of horses for the grass at Saratoga for tomorrow - five races are scheduled for turf - but I'm going to hold off for now, at least pending further meteorological developments.
- Del Mar's CFO Mike Ernst said that "there is no question" that the economy is partly to blame for significant drops in attendance and, especially, handle for the first week of the meeting.
Ernst said that track officials believe fewer customers are driving to Del Mar from Los Angeles and Orange counties. [DRF]- Oh yeah, this horse will run again, right! How much you think they can get at stud with him next year?