The Dirt, The Turf and The Poly

by Ed Meyer

posted on July 30, 2008 in General Discussion, Horse Racing, News | No Comments >>

For the many voices not being heard, some were not only heard, but felt at the New York Task Force meeting at the Fasig – Tipton sales pavilion at Saratoga.

Nick Zito is a great believer in dirt tracks. “God made dirt, and God made turf.” This will destroy 200 years of tradition where horses have been bred for speed and endurance on the dirt. How right he is…. It is not that I do not believe in the synthetic revolution, but do we want an asterisk by races at certain distances and starting all over with new records and wiping the slate clean?

Mark Casse from north of the border feels that we need this new surface. He also feels if we had it in place that Eight Belles, and Barbaro would still be alive now. That, Mr. Casse, is your opinion and nothing else. We could make cases pro and con, and at the end of the day nothing would come of the issue. He did say something that held water. Over 40% of the public believe we should not have racing. I do think we should have an agency that is a “watchdog” for medication, and surfaces should be inspected many times during a meet to satisfy safety. This would give racing commissions a real job to hold instead of just talking the talk about things to do…

On the other side of the coin, Todd Pletcher and Dale Romans feel that we should take more time examining the issue of a new surface. There is a place for both, and maybe an all-weather training track should be built at Belmont. This is a way we could monitor the progress, or see any problems that could arise. Good idea guys… Lets give it time. Take a look, and move slowly. Proceed with caution, and take a look at the real issues of safety and if we need this for our sport.

These are three names in the game, and three different opinions. Like it, love it, or hate it, all-weather surfaces should be examined. I am open to what is best for our game. But let’s not jump too soon. Give it time, and we will find out the truth.