by Ed Meyer

posted on December 22, 2009 in General Discussion | No Comments >>

In the desert, there can spring up an oasis. On the outskirts of Dubai, there is a place where racing will flourish. Trust me, it is only a matter of time before the¬†birthplace of the Thoroughbred makes their way to the winner’s circle at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May.

The new venue being constructed by the Sheik will be a crown jewel. There will be a world class turf course that surrounds a 1,750-meter all-weather Tapeta course inside it. That’s right, the synthetic revolution is going global in a big way.

The old venue hosted the Dubai World Cup, and some of the greatest horses romped to victory under the desert moon. The best riders, trainers, and horses all converged on finding the prize.

The race may chase away some dirt specialists, but it opens the door for European runners and stables to get practical experience in the desert and to ready themselves for the biggest races in America. With the heat, I think there could be no better place in the world where a synthetic oval would work better. It has held up nicely in extreme cold and heat.

Dubai Racing CEO Frank Gabriel spoke of a 60,000-capacity grandstand, luxury boxes that would make every track envious, and level the playing field by offering a world-class facility to showcase their talent.

I feel that with the money that will be put into this facility, racing will jump greatly, and the chance to see the best in the world will draw crowds. We needed something like this. The game needs it, and the future needed it. I guess now the conversation will begin about Breeders’ Cup future dates, and how they should be considered. Who knows? It is a tough answer. They can accommodate the crowds and showcase racing in fine fashion. I think we need to wait and see how Meydan unveils the carpet. But my money is on a red-carpet treatment for the world to see; the visions that only few could have dreamed.