Srotagtbs wrote:I like how one jockey wants AP to go back to dirt so THEY don't get injured or possibly killed, but it is OK if 25 more horses die as long as the Jockeys don't get hurt. That says everything I need to know about the Jock who said that. I don't understand why it can't work both ways, but then again I'm not the one who chose to be a jock and put my life on the line and then be selfish about it. If you don't like a product, stay away. If these Jocks don't like AP, then go ride somewhere else.
Arlington has this problem because of the Dirt track the had prior to Polytrack. Installing a Dirt Track would just make everything come full circle and not solve anything the original problem: the rash of horses dying. Nothing was found structurally wrong with the track, but it could have been the composition of the dirt. At this point I'm speculating because I have no idea why so many horses broke down with the dirt track. The fact remains that the dirt track was causing an extreme amount of breakdowns.
Also, there wasn't a single mention that Arlington tried different things in 2009 to make the surface safe and consistent. AP didn't have the same Track Superintendent as they did in 2007 and 2008 (Javier Barajas). Barajas was the Superintendent at AP from 1996 to 2008. They tried to use the same equipment and some methods that are used up at Woodbine when they felt the track was too fast and firm. It slowed the surface down, but according to the jocks didn't loosen the surface.
What bothers me is that the jocks made it seem like Arlington isn't doing anything. They wouldn't spend money on equipment to slow the surface down, or actively seek input from trainers and jocks if they weren't doing anything. The reason Michael Straight and Rene Douglas are paralyzed is because the horses that were clipped landed on them. Had these 2 just landed on the track and not crushed by the horse, they wouldn't have been paralyzed. But it makes sense to blame the track for 2 separate incidents where horses clipped heels.
I agree with your post. To protect the jockeys, you must first protect the horses. The fewer that break down, the better off the riders will be. As most of us know, it is what they hit - or what hits them - when they are going down that presents the gravest danger. I've seen about a half dozen rider fatalities in the last 40 years.. and to the best of my recollection, most of the riders that perished were hit by trailing horses.
If you didn't read about the ongoing study in California regarding racetrack safety, preliminary results show a 40% drop in fatal breakdowns while racing over synthetics. But in the mornings, when medication rules and vet checks are not in effect, there has been NO dropoff. Essentially, the same percentage of horses are fatally breaking down in the mornings on synthetics, but far fewer in the afternoon when medication rules count and vets are doing soundness checks. These results might change over time, but in the present, that's what the data from this particular study is showing.