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Monday, July 21, 2008

Notes - July 21

- Six races on the Polytrack at Del Mar on Monday; three wire-to-wire jobs, three deep closers. That continues a trend in which the track appears to be playing quite honestly and at speeds considered to be normal. However, the bad news is that two horses have now suffered fatal injuries while working out over the track in the morning. Each horse suffered broken sesamoid bones. Runforthemoney was a three-year old filly from the Jeff Mullins barn who the trainer called "one of the best 3-year-old fillies in my barn."

Track president Joe Harper defended the track, but alluded to some horses coming from Hollywood Park.

"They [veterinarians] told me I had some sore horses coming my way.....but I wouldn't put those two horses in that category."

Del Mar vets have scratched a number of horses this meet, some as late as the morning before a race and others at the starting gate.

"I've been in the barn area in the mornings, and I can see there are horses that aren't sound," Harper said. "I can't keep them off the racetrack in the mornings, but I can in the afternoons.

"I've told our vets if there are any doubts, scratch the horse."

Sincity, a 3-year-old filly, was scratched at the gate in Sunday's first race when track stewards reported she "didn't warm up properly." [North County Times]
- Bad job by me in this post in which I frivolously dismissed complaints about the cancellation of racing at Belmont on Sunday. After a long night at the Meadowlands, I slept in on Sunday, got up and wrote my post about the race there. I was still kinda in la-la land, watching the replay several times. When I was done at 1 and turned on TVG to see no Belmont, I just figured that between the transformer failure, the lack of electricity in the grandstand, the heat, and the fact that it was moving day, they just blew off the card. That seemed perfectly logical, so, not bothering to investigate further before posting, I didn't know that the announcement wasn't made until just before post time, when some fans were already there. Now I feel bad for making light of the situation when I think of reader forego is my witness riding the bus and three subways back home! I can't believe the LIRR wouldn't take people back!

The way the situation was handled certainly raises questions. To me, the main one is, given the factors mentioned above, why NYRA was even going to bother trying to conduct the card in the first place; instead of taking the safe route and giving fans time to make other plans (as they do during the winter when there's even a hint in the forecast of a significant storm.)


Anonymous said...

Agreed. Should have called Sunday's races off Saturday. How about the guys that shipped in to race. It must have cost them $600 or more, plus a groom or two. I wonder if the NYRA paid them back their costs? No toilets somedays, no air conditioning others, how can this building still pass safety and sanitary inspections?

Anonymous said...

With regard to Del Mar surface, and artificial surfaces in general, ultimately slower times are created by safer racing surfaces, on dirt or carpet fibers and wax (on turf, slower is usually more dangerous).

I maintain that a renovated or new base with a deeper dirt cushion will be as effective as intalling artificial, without the questions about the safety of the kickback.

But the operators need to pledge to maintain that safer deep cushion consistantly in the morning and afternoons, especially on the big race days when they get tempted to make it faster.

With today's speed figures, the tracks are fooling no one by scraping them to make them faster,the fact that they continue to do so is criminal in more ways than one.

El Angelo said...

The LIRR is so poorly run, it makes NYRA look like Apple.

Anonymous said...

The Mullins horse is/was Runforthemoneybaby. And yes, she was quite good.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

We know from last year that you can't pay attention to anything Harper says.

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.