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dirt racing on the way out?

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  • #19111
    srusling
    Member
    • Total Posts 11

    A recent study has confirmed what everyone already new. Dirt racing is significantly more dangerous than turf and synthetic. The results shown say that a horse is 35% more likely to die on a dirt track than turf and synthetic. However i don’t think that figure can be taken as exact as I’m sure it does not take into account the soundness or quality of horses racing on any particular track. Also the study was only undertaken in the US.

    I find this interesting as it feels as though in recent times there is also little focus on dirt racing. The recent WTR also show no horses that often race on dirt to be prominent. Only the US and Dubai hold major races on dirt and it seems as though owners and trainers from other parts of the world, mainly europe, are becoming less and less willing to risk there horses. Australian horses have rarely raced anywhere on dirt. Apart from the $10m carrot hanging at the end of the dubai world cup (always very enticing) i would see no reason to send a horse to race on dirt. The recent talk about SYT going to a breeders cup is an example. He is not going to stand in the US and it would do nothing to enhance his stud value in europe or australia. Let alone the risk to his health. Its a surface he has never seen, nor would he be likely to see again and there is just no upside.

    For traditions sake i would never want to see a race such as the Kentucky derby run on anything but dirt as its a unique type of racing, however i think a move away from dirt for average races in the long term to be beneficial for everyone, especially the horses.

    I am from Australia, where there is no dirt racing, so i may not understand the situation fully and could be very wrong here, but from all the information i can gather, dirt racing looks outdated, dangerous and can only hurt the reputation of the racing industry.

    #363759
    phil walkerphil walker
    Participant
    • Total Posts 1379

    I hope its on its way out, as most of the action on the dirt here in Britain is dire.

    #363767
    Miss WoodfordMiss Woodford
    Participant
    • Total Posts 1352

    Please cite the study you’re referring to.

    The main problem with synthetics, especially in the US, is how variable it is from track to track and day-to-day. Hot weather and polytrack really doesn’t mix well. The track at Del Mar, for example, can get 130 degrees Fahrenheit or higher at the surface. The surfaces aren’t All Weather, as promised. With tracks that have naturally poor drainage underneath (Santa Anita) water pools on the surface and creates an even bigger mess. Tracks have big "growing pains" when changing from dirt to synthetic, and it can take a while to get the polymer-sand-clay-whatnot mixture right. In the mean time horses are put in danger.

    Turf is not "the" surface here because, again, climate is challenging, as is the length of the meets. Getting a turf course watered in a southern summer is quite a challenge. The brown course at Fair Grounds in New Orleans, LA is notoriously awful. With 10 races a day (2 or 3 on turf), 4 or 5 days a week, over several months, the course gets ragged. The only all-turf tracks (not counting hunt meets) are Kentucky Downs and Atlantic City Race Course, which only race 4 or 5 days a year. Colonial Downs manages 2/3 of their races on the turf by having two turf courses and a relatively short meet.

    Dirt surfaces are traditional, and in most American bettors experience (mine included)easier to handicap than the fake stuff. It isn’t going anywhere.

    #363770
    srusling
    Member
    • Total Posts 11

    http://www.equinews.com/article/fatal-h … tic-tracks

    Thanks for your insight. Synthetic tracks are starting to be built all through australia now due to recent droughts and we too have had some growing pains. Water consumption of our turf tracks in southern australia during summer is always a talking point because as you stated they are thirsty

    #363793
    Irish Stamp
    Member
    • Total Posts 3185

    Agree entirely with Miss Woodford – you only need to take a look at the US racing community to see that dirt racing is as popular as ever and is most certainly not "on the way out".

    #363794
    deltaman
    Member
    • Total Posts 191

    I hope its on its way out, as most of the action on the dirt here in Britain is dire.

    Phil….which dirt tracks here are you refering to please? :?

    #363796
    GingertipsterGingertipster
    Participant
    • Total Posts 26580

    Please cite the study you’re referring to.

    The main problem with synthetics, especially in the US, is how variable it is from track to track and day-to-day. Hot weather and polytrack really doesn’t mix well. The track at Del Mar, for example, can get 130 degrees Fahrenheit or higher at the surface. The surfaces aren’t All Weather, as promised. With tracks that have naturally poor drainage underneath (Santa Anita) water pools on the surface and creates an even bigger mess. Tracks have big "growing pains" when changing from dirt to synthetic, and it can take a while to get the polymer-sand-clay-whatnot mixture right. In the mean time horses are put in danger.

    Turf is not "the" surface here because, again, climate is challenging, as is the length of the meets. Getting a turf course watered in a southern summer is quite a challenge. The brown course at Fair Grounds in New Orleans, LA is notoriously awful. With 10 races a day (2 or 3 on turf), 4 or 5 days a week, over several months, the course gets ragged. The only all-turf tracks (not counting hunt meets) are Kentucky Downs and Atlantic City Race Course, which only race 4 or 5 days a year. Colonial Downs manages 2/3 of their races on the turf by having two turf courses and a relatively short meet.

    Dirt surfaces are traditional, and in most American bettors experience (mine included)easier to handicap than the fake stuff. It isn’t going anywhere.

    I read somewhere that some American tracks (eg Santa Anita) tried to take short cuts in laying their synthetic tracks. ie Not to manufacturers instructions. Had they not penny-pinched (or should that be cent-pinched) then may be "hot weather, drainage" problems or "growing pains" would’ve been insignificant.

    Poor management of turf can not be blamed on turf. If courses want to over-race that is their fault. Lengthy meetings are the problem, courses should look in to having shorter meetings so as to allow grass to recover. I’ve also heard the arguement that these long meetings encourage use of lasix/bute to enable horses to run more often.

    IF

    it is significantly safer to race on synthetic then xxxx tradition!

    value is everything
    #363805
    Adrian
    Participant
    • Total Posts 1041

    Srusling :

    1. Meydan (home to the Dubai World Cup) is a Tapeta surface – the synthetic surface invented and sold by Michael Dickinson.

    2. If you think there is no upside to Coolmore running a horse in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on dirt can I suggest you have a look at the racing/stud career of Giant’s Causeway for example.

    #363816
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    • Total Posts 17727

    Of course we don’t have dirt tracks here in the UK, nor does Ireland, nor do France, Japan, Hong Kong or Dubai. In fact, the USA is increasingly out on a limb as far as using it as the "prime surface" is concerned.

    Despite

    Miss Woodford

    ‘s fair

    resume

    as to why dirt is not on the way out any time soon, and why turf presents difficulties given the country’s climate and racing culture, there is still a perceived problem with the dirt

    status quo

    – and not just for safety reasons.

    Brutally speaking, if the USA is to remain in the top flight of racing nations it must present something like a "level playing field" to international visitors. So the change to synthetics will have to come sooner or later. This year’s "Triple Crown" has not provided a good qualitative advert for dirt, either – something which has been true for too many recent seasons.

    And we might remember the red faces at Santa Anita when the home Breeder’s Cup team could hardly muster a big race win, either on the synthetic or turf surfaces.

    That loss of face plus the practical drainage problems at that same track have set the agenda back, but if the USA is serious about maintaining its place at the top table, it simply must come into the 21st century – and preferably sooner rather than later.

    #363818
    srusling
    Member
    • Total Posts 11

    Interesting that world cup says dirt then. Makes more sense to be on sythetic.

    Im not challenging the breeders cup status as a race as I know many great horses have won it and gone onto great stud careers. But as ive stated it seems to be losing its gloss in recent times. For SYT it makes little sense and Giants Causeway is an example why it would be of little worth. GC was a dud at stud down under (where SYT will comfortably command his biggest fee) along with mnay other dirt performed horses over the years. On a global scale in modern times, a dirt group 1 means not much outside of the US.

    #363820
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    • Total Posts 17727

    On a global scale in modern times, a dirt group 1 means not much outside of the US.

    That truth about the breeding industry – rather than the "safety" issue – is the real driving force behind the inevitable move to synthetics in the USA.

    #363836
    Miss WoodfordMiss Woodford
    Participant
    • Total Posts 1352

    Here’s some interesting reading for you all. It’s a complicated issue.
    http://www.bloodhorse.com/pdf/synthetic … 120807.pdf
    http://marylandthoroughbred.com/midatla … 08/jan.htm
    http://www.calracing.com/pdf/ground-control.pdf
    http://www.avma.org/onlnews/javma/mar11/110301m.asp
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/05/sport … racks.html

    Also Japan has dirt racing . There’s a reason they’ve been poaching so many American dirt stallions and mares. Ferdinand, Sunday Silence, Silver Charm, Charismatic, War Emblem, Forty Niner, Wild Rush, Empire Maker, Johannesburg, Captain Steve, Pyro, Aldebaran, Battle Plan, French Deputy, Timber Country, Twining, Squirtle Squirt, Brian’s Time, Boston Harbor, Roses in May, Afleet, Came Home, Xtra Heat, Azeri, Ginger Punch…

    #363851
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    • Total Posts 17727

    Interesting reading indeed, thank you,

    Miss Woodford

    . And certainly complicated – politically if not economically or medically. It is intriguing to find Graham Motion dismissing the volte face at Santa Anita as "incomprehensible". He certainly thinks it’s a temporary setback, and swimming against the tide.

    And apologies for stupidly including Japan in the non-dirt list. Mind you, the horses taking part on that surface remain comparatively low grade. And I’m not sure what they actually use on their "dirt" tracks – from videos it doesn’t look like the US kind. Some sort of synthetic surface? Does anyone have inside knowledge on what Japan uses for their dirt races??

    #363857
    Miss WoodfordMiss Woodford
    Participant
    • Total Posts 1352

    Interesting reading indeed, thank you,

    Miss Woodford

    . And certainly complicated – politically if not economically or medically. It is intriguing to find Graham Motion dismissing the volte face at Santa Anita as "incomprehensible". He certainly thinks it’s a temporary setback, and swimming against the tide.

    And apologies for stupidly including Japan in the non-dirt list. Mind you, the horses taking part on that surface remain comparatively low grade. And I’m not sure what they actually use on their "dirt" tracks – from videos it doesn’t look like the US kind. Some sort of synthetic surface? Does anyone have inside knowledge on what Japan uses for their dirt races??

    Motion is based at Fair Hill training center in Maryland, which has a Tapeta surface.

    Regarding Japanese dirt:

    JRA’s dirt courses are based on designs used in the United States, but uniquely fine-tuned to handle Japan’s high precipitation. Tracks are packed firmly with a layer of mountain sand to support the horses’ hooves and then covered with loose sand to absorb impact and ease leg stress. The horses must exert slightly greater effort when the track is dry, but speed is increased as the track absorbs more water.

    #363873
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    • Total Posts 17727

    Thank you

    Miss Woodford

    for the description of dirt, Japanese style. It certainly has a very different look, judging from available graphics, and perhaps rides rather differently too.

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