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Monday, July 24, 2006

Long Time Between Drinks

- Some people, obviously not simulcast aficionados, still complain that there’s too much time between races. That circumstance was taken to an extreme at Woodbine on Sunday. All the dirt races after the second were cancelled due to heavy rain, but the turf races went on. So, after the second, which went off 1:48, fans of live racing had to stick around until 3:33 for the Ontario Jockey Club Stakes; and then until 5:07 for the G2 Northern Dancer.

Dirt races are being run on the harness track at Woodbine these days as the main track is switched over to Polytrack.

"The [harness] surface has a seven-degree bank on the turns," said Chris Evans, vice-president of racing for Woodbine Entertainment. "It's great for thoroughbreds to negotiate the turn but when you put the thoroughbred track's sand cushion on the hard harness track you risk losing it during the heavy rain.' [Toronto Star]
Interesting comment there; I wonder if banked turns, as they have at harness tracks, would be kinder for thoroughbreds? Perhaps they’ll consider that at Arlington, where officials are befuddled and they’re trying to come up with something, anything to stop the rash of fatal injuries. In fact, most of the injuries have occurred on, or coming out of the turn. On Sunday, tragedy struck again, for the 18th time, as a three-year old filly, Just Ducky, broke down, again, coming out of the turn for home and was put down after she shattered her left-front sesamoid and cannon bone while in contending position as home. she approached the turn for home. [Chicago Tribune] Trainer Steve Hobby told the paper that he’s been a supporter of the track surface, and that he was just “stunned” by the breakdown. "She was a very, very sound horse....She never had a problem.”

And we’re still awaiting word on Christening, who was scheduled for surgery this morning after suffering a condylar fracture yesterday at Delaware.


Anonymous said...

Here's hoping everyth. ing works out for Christening. I lost a $6K claimer this week at Charlestown and have been walking around with a rock in my stomach since. His name was "Bad Credit". Removed chips from his knee in December and first race back he fell apart. Can't get used to it and I never want to.

And good luck with Clancy. An old steeplechase jock. I'll be reading every day.

Bank Check

Alan Mann said...

Thanks Bank Check. And so sorry to hear about your horse.

Anonymous said...

Turns all over the world are way underbanked. At racing speed, the bank should approach double the usual angles from an "engineering perspective". The issue is almost always the ability to maintain the surface, washouts and gradual migration of material to the rail.
Fast 1/2 mile harness ovals are usually very steeply banked, but Flamboro, which used to have the steepest bank around dropped the angle due to maintenance (in the 80's I think). Guys used to drop down from the outside and get a downhill run at it, which added another dynamic to outside posts.
Polytrack should be better I think, but I haven't seen any info about being able to increase bank angles. One can argue that turning on flat turns is part if racing, and I can't argue that mentality. Fair tracks are sometimes really flat, but from a soundness point of view its a potential contributor to the problems we see. In racing cars, the bigger the bank the higher the speed and the less the "handling". In NA racing it seems people like speed over finesse, so I don't myself understand why banking isn't a higher priority.
Just an opinion ;-)