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All these promises sound fantastic BUT, I think we've heard them before.. I hope a little more research and testing is done than last time.
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WILSON: Santa Anita owner searching for input
By Art Wilson, horse racing columnist
Updated: 02/25/2010 10:40:05 PM PST
Guess who's coming to dinner?
Santa Anita owner Frank is flying into town tonight and will be here through the weekend to meet with local horsemen and talk about the state of the sport. While he's here, he'll also meet with an engineer to discuss the pluses and minuses of a proposed new racing surface.
vowed Thursday during an exclusive telephone interview that he'll never install another synthetic track at Santa Anita after the existing Pro-Ride surface is removed when the meet ends April 18, he said but he's strongly considering a sandy surface that never has been tried or tested in the U.S.
"It's dirt, it's sand and there's a small amount of fiber in there," said. "Just picture a beach. It's similar to sand on a beach. It's a very safe surface."
said there are a number of riding rings in Europe and a training center in Spain that currently use the surface. He had it installed at his race track in Austria last year and has been pleased with the results.
"The technology is you water the track from underneath and you can absolutely control the moisture content," said. "It drains heavily, you can suck the water away very quickly, and if it dries you can regulate the water at all times."
OK, sounds good. But there are a couple of potential problem areas. went on to explain this new surface requires a special base with a lot of drainage pipes.
Who's going to
pay for it?
's Magna Entertainment Corp., the parent company of Santa Anita, filed Chapter 11 last year and is in the process of a reorganization that transfers its remaining assets, including Santa Anita, Golden Gate Fields and Gulfstream Park, to MI Developments, its parent company.
In short, there's not a lot of money to play with in terms of luxurious renovations. Also, this new sandy surface has been used mainly for jumping competitions and one training center in Europe. It may appease the anti-synthetic crowd, but it's still new and no one knows how well it will stand up over the rigors of California horse racing. Still, sounded like a man who is coming to Southern California in an attempt to convince horsemen this new surface is the way to go.
"I've seen the thing, and it works," he said. "We just put the new surface in (at Austria's Magna Racino), but I know and have talked to people that have had it in there for quite a few years."
This is a man who has gone the synthetic route twice and has no desire to try for a hat trick.
"Like everybody knows, I love horses," said. "I have many horses, so I have a vital interest. I did always express myself that I never liked the Polytracks, the synthetic tracks, because it was not an exact science. It was just a hodgepodge, right? But the horsemen wanted it at the time so I put it in.
"This new surface, it's basically natural. There's a little bit of new fibers in but in a very coned way. It's very exact."
also touched on a number of other subjects, including the decline in horse racing, the rash of cancellations at Santa Anita the past three years when the track did not drain following heavy rain and the growing number of big-name horses that have stayed away from Santa Anita because of its synthetic surface.
"You know, the (current) model in horse racing doesn't work," he said. "It's broken. I want to come out and say, `Look, I am willing, I want to see safe racing, but I can't do it alone. You all got to strive to have some input.' So I am going to come out there and we'll sort of explain as I see it, what we can do to change the model, what we can do so that racing could be viable, that we could bring racing back."
Of the 15 cancellations at Santa Anita, including four this year, since the track installed its Cushion Track in 2007, said: "It's disappointing to everyone, especially if you got a horse scheduled for certain races which lead up to a stakes race or whatever, it's very disappointing. But this new (track), even if it rains heavily, there is a mechanism that you can drain it very quickly."
also expressed regret that the connections for horses like Rachel Alexandra and Quality Road elected to bypass potential big paydays at Santa Anita because of its synthetic surface.
"I think great horses should be able to go to great race tracks," he said. "You don't want to see a race track where they say, `Look, I'm not going to send my horse there.' The key is can we provide a race track which is very consistent? There are new methods now."
But is this new method too costly? And how will it be perceived three years from now?
Time will tell.
A BEACH ??? I guess that idea of racing on the training track when SA originally had the drainage problems may actually happen, just on a larger scale.
Frank, you don't get it. This surface still would have that word " fiber ". And that would still prevent some from coming as horse people are very provencial that way. And Quality Road didn't run because of his gate antics, not because of the surface.
If wishes were horses then beggars would ride-
& If dirt were dollars we'd all be in the black
With regards to QR I think he might have been talking about his connections not running in the Santa Anita Handicap. However, I can't imagine there are many people in the racing game who have less credibility with the fans and wagering public right now than Mr. .
Or at least Lurker...
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Just for the record.....Frank, Michael and I are meeting for a late lunch Saturday and will discuss the merits of Tapeta one last time. Frank is insisting that Michael accept a permanent position at SA as part of the deal and that just ain't gonna happen. Perhaps we can reach some agreement on what his role would be in the future, but make no mistake, the Tapeta surface would be the correct choice for the premier SoCal venue, nuff said.
And remember...Things work out best when you make the best of the way things work out.
Tapeta. Another gong show! No wonder my wagering dollars are leaving the state as well.
Godolphin wants to win the triple crown and they install Tapeta at Meydan. I guess when you have billions to throw at a goal why not just run them on Berber Carpet?
Has your big bankroll gone over to Fairgrounds? Handle there is down 25% so far. I laugh when I hear this stuff, handle is down everywhere except for the track that is on an upswing in purses and that is Woodbine. The purses have made for full fields and great cards, and the handle is soaring there..synthetic, dirt, turf, feathers, it does not matter really, the economy and offshore are causing handle to suffer everywhere.
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