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Manila, Derby angles, etc.
Not to mention, when was the last time the third place finisher in the Santa Anita Derby wasn't p...ointed to the Derby? David Hofmans never had any intention of running Coast Guard in the Derby...
You have to go way back...all the way back to 2004...when Rock Hard Ten was placed third in the Santa Anita Derby. Like Coast Guard, he didn't have enough earnings to get into the Kentucky Derby field. Kafwain (third, 2003) and I Love Silver (2001) also didn't race in the Derby.
...Horseracing needs Big Brown to be the real deal, but wasn't his beyer only about par for the last 7-8 runnings? Not exactly super-horse time. Hopefully, Dutrow knew what was in front of him & only needed him to be 90-95%, with room to improve or at least not regress in the 2 weeks 'til the Preakness...
Big Brown earned a 109 Beyer for his Derby win. It's about par for the Derby since 1992, but faster than Giacomo (100), Smarty Jones (107), Fusaichi Pegasus (108), Charismatic (108), Real Quiet (107), Thunder Gulch (108), Lil E. Tee (107), and Sea Hero (105), and equal to Funny Cide (109). Faster Derby winners since 1992 include Go for Gin (112), Grindstone (112), Silver Charm (115), Monarchos (116), War Emblem (114), Barbaro (111), and Street Sense (110).
People ask me who Big Brown has beaten. The answer is simple. It's everyone that's lined up in the gate against him.
NEW DERBY ANGLE:
I've come up with a brand new angle for helping pick a Derby winner. It's winning at a 17% clip now over the 134 year history. It involves leaning with the horses that have only made 3 career starts up until the Derby :)
(smile). That's a good one, Afi. I, myself, prefer the "bullet work in the final prep" angle. Adding in Big Brown (3F - 35.40, best of 19), eight of the last 13 Derby winners showed a bullet as the final workout before the race.
ONE QUETION FOR ANYONE IS THERE AT LEAST A HOPE WAR PASS MAY GET A SHOT AT BIG BROWN IN THE NEXT TWO LEGS OF THE TC..
It's probably not going to happen.
I don't blame Saez for the injury, don't get me wrong. I just don't see the purpose in his using the whip in the final strides with no chance to catch Big Brown and no chance of being caught...What did Rags to Riches do after running in the Belmont? When they run these races at that age they are done. Let them duke it out with the boys when they get older like Ouija Board instead.
Ouija Board, like most females in Europe, mostly raced against males. Two of her three races at age two (third in 23-horse field, and maiden win) were against the boys. She finished third in the Arc against males as a three-year-old, and beat the boys in the Hong Kong Vase at four. She beat Dubai World Cup winner Electrocutionist in the Prince of Wales's Stakes at five, and finished second that year in the Irish Champion Stakes as well as third in the Japan Cup.
Rags to Riches only ran once after the Belmont, and she was only beaten a half-length in the Grade 1 Gazelle.
Eight Belles had a tendency to lug in during the stretch drive. Saez may have been using the whip to keep her from bumping into the rail.
Please be quiet...
The similarities to 2006 are striking!! The one potential negative to Harlem Rocker is his pedigree - Bernardini had a classic pedigree but can Harlem Rocker also go two-turns??...
Harlem Rocker is a son of Macho Uno, the juvenile champion of 2000. Macho Uno won at distances ranging between 5.5 furlongs (maiden win at Saratoga) to nine furlongs (Pennsylvania Derby, Massachusetts Handicap), and is a half-brother to Awesome Again, a multiple Grade 1 winner at 10 furlongs.
Harlem Rocker is the first foal of Freedom Come, a multiple stakes-placed sprinter on both turf and dirt by Lit de Justice. Freedom Come never raced beyond seven furlongs, but her half-brother, Boomzeeboom (by Explosive Red), won the Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap at 1 1/16 miles.
The second dam, Zee Lady (by Unreal Zeal), was a listed stakes-winning sprinter at two in New York.
There seems to be enough stamina in this pedigree to go long, but Harlem Rocker is still a bit green (note how he hopped back to his wrong lead when perhaps bored late in the Withers), and he may be pointed towards races like the Canadian Triple Crown series.
...But, If I know him like I think I do - He hates having to bring back his real good horses w/ short rest. Look at all his great ones that he has campaigned: Saint Liam, Kip Deville, Sis City, Benny the Bull, Diamond Stripes, The Silver's (Wagon & Train)- He has given all these ample time in between races, and always had them prepared to fire their best shot in the big spots.
Steve V. makes a great point, and the statistics from Formulator 4.1 back him up. Over the last five years, Dutrow has only raced three horses off two weeks or less rest in Grade 1 races.
Love of Money finished fifth in the 2005 Met Mile, Kazoo finished sixth in the 2007 Carter, and Ice Cool Kitty finished seventh in last year's Beldame.
Dutrow is 0-8 in all graded races with horses wheeling back in two weeks or less. With those horses, he has three seconds (Dark Cheetah in 2006 Bold Ruler, K. D.'s Shady Lady in 2004 Tempted, Mr. Umphrey in 2008 Skip Away).
In non-graded stakes over the past five years, Dutrow is 1-14 with horses returning in two weeks or less. The winner was Herecomeshollywood in the 2007 Mr. Prospector at Monmouth.
Adding in all of his horses, Dutrow is 93-421 (22%, $1.80 ROI) over the past five years with horses returning within two weeks.
I recall that Congaree raced surprisingly late into his career (compared to his peers) without the administration of Lasix. Because of this, I respected him more for his accomplishments, and always wondered if he might sire more durable runners. I don't recall a more versatile multiple G1 winner since Precisionist.
Here are Congaree's lifetime past performances. You'll note he raced with medication in every race. You're probably thinking of another runner.
I find the prospect's of Curlin skipping the B.C. Classic to run in the Arc or Japan Dirt intersting to say the least. Do you think it has to do with running on a synthetic surface? I know Jess Jackson wants to showcase him to the rest of the world but I'm skepticle that the thought of him running poorly over S.A.'s rubbish are scary. What are your thoughts?
This has the potential to be a huge story. After the trials and travails that Asmussen went through with Pyro over the Keeneland polytrack, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if he skips the BC with Curlin because of the synthetic track. I'm not sure either international race is a better option as we all know that Asmussen likes shipping Curlin in ahead of time to get acclimated to his surroundings. That probably wouldn't happen if Curlin goes to Paris or Japan. It's too early to speculate, but the synthetic stuff is scary to some trainers.
Let's try to find a "sound" sire line tomorrow as well as discuss the interesting foreign imports for races like the Peter Pan and Belmont.
What a great site. First visit here and the info & replying posts are excellent and really enjoyable. In Australia we have only recently started to get an exposure to American racing. So I am sure this site is going to start getting a real influx of Australian visitors very shortly. Best Regards, Mike Keenan.
JohnnyZ and Svhill, Your welcome re:the post. JohnnyZ, I'm with you on CJ and Tiznow. If you looked at the pics in the bloodhorse from start to finish. He got squeezed totally on both sides. More like a mugging. He did finish well. There will be another day and another race for him. Hollywood Card Frid. 6th race two key horses horizontal are the 3 and 4. Vertically alos use the 7 and 8 and 12. Marty Jones is always a good play at Hllywd, he generally puts over a couple LS early
Enough already! I apologize ahead of time for posting this several paragraph reply regarding the "law" with john r, who is apparently the Blog's new legal expert. Please skip this post if you want to read about handicapping. This is a last ditch attempt to end this back and forth between john r and vicstu. I want to set the record straight and remind john r that when he posts advice and specific interpretations of the law to a group he is attempting to give legal opinions. Stick to your opinion and you will be ok. The last thing I want to read is anyone's take on the law here. Except maybe Big Easy or another lawyer. I am forced to set the record straight so some people here do not think you are correctly applying "the law". And Van Savaant. Thanks for trying to get a win-win situation here. One party or another will not let this go. Nice try. What follows is my opinion and is not legal advice to any specific person or group. Vicstu, why do you keep responding to john r? It is patent by just reading his last post that he will not let this go. Do not answer him. You are helping this to drag on. John R, I like your horse racing posts, and you seem like a nice guy. Concerning the law, especially Kentucky law, you are relying on one small section of the law to the exclusion of the rest. You know the saying: a little bit of knowledge is dangerous. I have told you once before I have experience as a criminal and contract lawyer, with a specialized area of practice in sports law. I am no expert on Kentucku law, but I was able to Shepardize numerous case law and other statutes that are far more applicable to DVMs at a track or at an office, than the Racing Commision laws and provisions you are talking about. There is a reason why the Racing Commission is silent on record keeping and euthanization procedures for DVMs. They have no jurisdiction. The racing commission has no authority to regulate DVMs or their conduct, nor spell out what they shall or shall not do. The legislature intended for the licensing laws under the Kentucky Vetrinary Practice Act of 1992 (KRS 321.521 et seq.), and KAR 16.10 to govern the conduct of all Veterinarians, unless specifically excluded by exemption(track vets are not excluded). Also, the relationship between the Vet and the track is as much contractual as statutory. Contract law is a horse of a different color but is relevant here. A majority of track Vets are p/t independent contractors and have their own private practice. Any state Vets at the track are employees of the state and not the track. Any track employee who is also a DVM must follow the law and regulations for DVMs. Now, your points: That law you are citing concerning the Racing Commision does not control the practice of Vetrinary medicine, rob. The Vet is required to follow the provisions of law and regulations regarding the practice of all DVM's. Any "obligations" under any Racing Commission law is general and incidental at best...Any omission of a duty of a DVM is meanigless, because the Racing Commission cannot tell a DVM how the practice his craft. Period. If you had law school training, you would understand how naive you sound citing one small provision of the law like it exists in a vacuum. The Racing Commission has very limited power over a DVM who is employed as a general contractor. It cannot tell a DVM how to keep records, etc. It can instruct on keeping an "Injury Log" consistent with the Vetrinary Board's regs and law. The statutes and case law of the Commonwealth of Kentucky should be viewed as a collective whole. The limited Act and laws you are citing are supposed to be read in conjunction and harmony with any other provision of law. Record keeping and notice by a DVM involves the practice of vet. medicine, which is beyong the Racing Board's jurisdiction. The legislature is presumed to know each exists in its current state and the provisions of KRS 320 et. seq., where different or in conflict with the law regarding Race Track Operations and duties, the specific contols the general, and KRS 321-The Kentucky Vetrinarian Practices Act controls notice for euthenization, operations, record keeping, etc. The fact that these obligations are not imposed under the law you cited is beside the point, as The Kentucky Vetrinarians Practices Act controls how and when a DVM can practice Vet. Medicine (even at a race track). Below is one of many statutory provisions concerning the conduct and licensing of DVMs in Kentucky: Kentucky R. Statutes "321.175 Purpose for certain sections of chapter It is hereby declared that the practice of veterinary medicine is a privilege which is granted by legislative authority in the interest of public health, safety, and welfare. To protect the public from being misled by incompetent, unscrupulous, and unauthorized practitioners, and from unprofessional or illegal practices by persons licensed to practice veterinary medicine, KRS 321.175, 321.181, 321.185, 321.190, 321.193, 321.195, 321.200, 321.201, 321.205, 321.211, 321.221, 321.230, 321.235, 321.237, 321.240, 321.320, 321.351, 321.360, 321.441, 321.443, and 321.990 are enacted in the interest of the health, safety, and welfare of the animal population and the citizens of Kentucky." The Kentucky Board of Veterinary Examiners, pursuant to the Ky. Veterinary Practices Act of 1992, has the statutory authority to administer and enforce all provisions under Kentucky Law regarding the conduct of any licensed DVMs. At a track, at the Shelter, or in private practice. Period. See- 3321.235 Powers and duties of board The board shall administer and enforce the provisisions of the statute, promulgate rules, prosecute and adjudicate violations, define and prohibit conduct. And it has the force of law. The Horse Racing Commission, by contrast, has little (if any) statutory jurisdiction over DVMs at racetracks. Here is a link to the Board, which promulagates rules and interprets law, which have the full force and effect of Ky law: http://finance.ky.gov/ourcabinet/caboff/OAS/op/vetexam/ BTW, the only person who suggested that the connections sue CD for anything was Crazy Rob who posted this at 9:08 PM on May 6th due to track conditions. I took it to be hyperbole or simple disgust. Although Rob may know of grounds to sue under such a scenario. In any event, this assertion that vicstu or anyone else advised the connections to sue CD is false. You are correct when you say the Vet is not required to get consent or keep records under the Racing Board's provisions. So what? The Vetrinary Practices Act says they do, and that, and not the Racing Commission, has jurisdiction to set forth rules and duties for DVMs. Read carefully: The legislature has deferred to the expert opinion of the Board as set forth under state law. The Board, which are practicing DVMs and lawyers, has the power to promulgate rules that have the force of law which DVMs are compelled to follow. Nothing you have cited from the Racing Commission can limit or control a DVM. The Memo on Euthanization of Horses that you link to is utterly off point here. Amazingly, the memo you linked to addresses injuries and scratches, and specifically covers the trainer's responsibilities to euthanize in conjunction with his private Vet and has nothing to do with your subject matter or complete discretion given to a Vet to euthanize at the expense of state law and regulations concerning DVMs. Nothing. You need to read this link you provided very carefully. It gives the track Vet the discretion to decide what horse to scratch due to injury. There's nothing about granting unlimited discretion to euthanize absent notice or anything else that would be completely in conflict with the law and rules created under the Kentucky Vetrinary Protection Act, or the licensing Board: http://www.khra.ky.gov/NR/rdonlyres/2181034F-7CCE-44A5-ACFF-1D5B4F8A71C2/0/Euthanizing.pdf "Public policy DOES NOT trump the law..even good public policy...I wish it did as my job would be easy. Judicial opinions can trump law or a legislative body can amend or create it." The above is your quote. What is "good public policy?" . You have lost me. Public policy is the collected embodiment of a State's various laws, regulations and judicial decisions and administrative promulations and orders. Public policy is a judicial rule that is invoked under various instances such as conflicts of law,unconstitutional laws, where a judicial officer or body fashions a remedy consistent with that State's existing public policy. For instance, a new law prohibiting anyone from killing a fetus would be challenged as being both against established public policy as well as federal constitutional case law. Public policy is not policy making by a legislature, it is existing laws, rules, statutes, etc. Given that case law and existing law make up public policy, your point regarding "only the courts" and the legislature makes no sense at all. The courts and the legislature are all a part of public policy. You claim that the Ky Statutes and rules do not say that a Vet must jeep records of patients or owners. Again, so what? The Kentucky Racing board rules covers racing officials. The Racing Board does not have anything more than ancillary jurisdiction over the track Vet, the Kentucky Board of Vet. Examiners does. A racing board cannot supervise any aspect of the practice of veterinary medicine--Who on earth told you that? It is not correct. Under the laws that cover the practice of Vet. Medicine, and all regulations made therof, it specifically requires that all liicensed vets keep records of all animals under his or her care, and specifically: "A licensed Vet. is required to obtain consent from the owner before administering any general anesthesia, chemical restraint, or before performing any surgical procedure, unless: 1. The owner is not readily available. 2. Circumstances qualifying as an emergency do not permit such consent, by phone or in person; 3. The owner has specifically waived this requirement. 201 KAR 16.010 et seq. Find the specific provision yourself. The legislature has defined euthanasia as both a medical procedure and a chemical restraint. The Board has also defined "emergency" as that which exists when: A. The animal has been placed in a life threatening situation; and B. Immediate treatment is needed to sustain life and control pain. If an emergency exists, a Vet can proceed to treat or operate without consent of the owner of the injury is life threatening AND treatment is needed to sustain life and control pain. In the instance you keep referring to, there was no treatment given to that horse to control pain and sustain life. Rather, they put her down. Exemption not applicable. The emergency provisions do not apply. DVM regulations require a DVM to get consent before putting down an animal, unless consent is not readily avalable from the owner. According to the American Association of Equine Practioners (Dr. Bramlage's group), only in extreme circumstances may a vet. act on a horse's behalf wothout an owner or trainer's consent. Most all exceptions involve the owner not being available by phone or in person. The group also says that the horse is the responsibility of the owner or agent, and not the vet. "A vet cannot decide whether to euthanize your horse no matter what its condition, unless death is imminent and the owner is not available to consent", and the public safety or welfare is at stake. True, track Vets have broad discretion, but in this instance the owner and trainer were a mere 200 yards away. Note: The AAEP had a hand in suggesting the language for Kentucky animal euthanization laws. See: Euthanasia, The Most Difficult Decision, for more by the American Assoc. of Equine Practicioners. Your contention that because other laws that may pertain to DVMs is in another section of the statutory code, the DVM is controlled by the law you cited is vapid. Two laws in completely different sections of the law must be read in consideration of each other and in harmony. There is no law in a vacuum. DVMs must follow the procedures and guidelines set forth by the State Board which regulates the practice of Veter. medicine. And no "societies", these are agencies of the Commonwealth of Ky. If they do not comply they can lose their license, be publicly censored, etc. The Horse Racing Commission has no such authority over a Vet. If they lose their license, they cannot be track Vet. The racing commission cannot revoke a Vet license or discipline a DVM. Vets follow procedures set forth in under the law specific to DVMs, and the Kentucky Administrative Regulations. Specifically, 201 KAR 16.010 et. seq. The Commissioner of Racing has no authority to control the practice of DVMs, and the legislature does not purport to give them such authority. The specific trumps the general. The Board has specific authority over DVMs or MDs. Not the Racing Authority. If both attempt to, the specific is binding. And then there are the several court cases that I found that contradict what you are alleging is "the law". I am not going to waste my time or yours with that. It just adds to this issue. I also think Slew Lady may have a point because all we know is that Jones and Porter were not contacted. We do not know if they tried unsuccesfully to contact, then decided that time was of the essence. And vicstu, you cannot fault Bramlage for doing his job with the AAEP as spokesman. I am sure he had no clue that neither Jones or Porter had been contaced, and it is really not his concern (its the track vet and the patrol judges with him holding down the horse). Rob r, you are a knowledgable horseman and no doubt a good lobbyist. Please stop arguing law. If none of this registers with you, than I give up. Either way, I am not discussing this any further so do not respond and expect further reply. And you and vicstu should follow my lead. And I do like you jon, just not when you are lecturing on "the law". I hope you enjoy your 20th reunion. I went to my 20th a couple of years back and boy had some people changed, and several had passed on. Time marches on. Now, lets talk horses! Great post, larryk, regarding the enlarged heart of Big Brown and the article verifying this. This would seem to verify all of that LH-X information and theory that someone, perhaps vicstu or calvin, was posting here. Who do you like besides BB in the Preakness? I AM interested in your take on the Preakness when you are ready, john r.
Alan, Thanks for your concern. I thought NYRA didn't want to make a knee-jerk reaction like the CHRB did. I'm not trying to be callous about it, but where was the outrage and call for change when Pine Island broke down in the Distaff at Churchill 2 years ago? Why is this industry so reluctant to discuss drugs? So far, Arthur Hancock and Jenine Sahadi have come the closest to blowing the whistle on HBO Real Sports. Where is everyone else? Where are the so-called "oats, hay, and water" guys like Nafzger, Matz, and Shug? I find it odd that very few of them are willing to even suggest that pain-masking drugs probably contribute more to breakdowns than the surface. Are they afraid of losing their friends? What is the deal, guys? Come on... Drysdale? Sheriffs? Mott? Howard? Anyone? Someone needs to speak up... believe me, the fans (and many owners) will support you 110% for blowing the whistle here. Anyway, a few things for NYRA to consider: First, the "Test of the champion" will be contested on a different surface, giving a middle finger to the history and legacy of the sport's most sought-after accomplishment. Imagine if Big Brown were to win the Preakness by 5, and then gets beat on polytrack at 1-5, denying him the triple crown... everyone will blame the track, but nobody will really know for sure. Most of the old timers will be bowing out at that point. Also, if Asmussen doesn't want Curlin to run at Santa Anita this year, would he have skipped the Belmont for the same reason last year? Second, the Breeders Cup, which uses Belmont as one of its go-to venues, will be contested on artificial more often than dirt. The title 'Dirt Mile' will become a real joke. Third, Saratoga, the most famous racetrack in the country (with the possible exception of Churchill), will be altered, causing tons of bad blood and a mass exodus of serious bettors... trust me, this will happen. In fact, it already is. Messing with Saratoga will just make it happen a lot quicker. Fourth, we get a lot of rain and bad weather up here, so NYRA might experience the same drainage problems Santa Anita had earlier this year. Imagine a 10-day shutdown of Saratoga? Major disaster. Fifth, it sounds like many NY trainers will go elsewhere. According to the article, I think Dutrow will be one and Baffert may relocate again too. All I can say is "whatever". I suppose I can become a regular Louisiana player or something, but if the triple crown and Saratoga are altered, my overall enthusiasm will dip quite a bit. Let's just see what happens. PS: I'm more shocked that anyone was even able to play Churchill today. I guess the winner wasn't from Calder. My brain is still trying to process that mess... PPS: Happy with NYRA or not, I'll be tracking you down at Belmont in June.
Dan, Thanks for another great Past Champions retrospective! Thoroughbred horse racing has a rich heritage that is filled with stores of great thoroughbreds and individuals. That's why I originally began studying pedigrees three years ago - to learn more about the history of horse racing. Since you began this series, I've gone online and purchased some old editions of The American Racing Manual from Ebay - and I'm so glad that I did. When I thumb through the pages of those old manuals I’m taken back to a time when horse racing truly was King. Every page is a delight of racing’s rich history but I especially like the “Past Performances of the Great Horses of the 20th Century” section. When I look at those past performances, I’m overcome with awe of the greatest horses in the history of horse racing and I’m struck by how much racing has, in my opinion, declined since those glorious days. Your work on the Past Champions retrospective is very important. If we have an understanding of our glorious past then maybe changes can be made in the present to recapture the glory of those olden times. These days, we need more stories about horse racing's glorious past. And I thank you for championing that!
Lenny, First of all congratulations on your contest results - Intangaroo...where did you ever pick that one??? I only keep KTB for certain meetings (KEE, SAR, DMR and currently BEL.) I keep the formulas on an excel spreadsheet so they are very easy to enter - just 1st, 2nd, other first 1/2 and second 1/2 totals (exclude
Lenny, No, I'm doing an NHCQualifier online (two entries) the week before - my 1st one this year (I was going to wait until after we moved, but I was getting impatient!) BTW, I lost on the Xpressbet challenge with DoC... Johnnyz, Sorry...despite being shut out from wagering, I've been trying to handicap the CD maiden races, mainly the 2yoraces (BTW, Segal, the winner of CD5, looks like a nice horse - great connections, nice pedigree and a Grp1 BreezeFig to boot - of course he went off at even money!!) I never would have picked CD4 (I think that was Lanerie's 1st win at the meeting) or CD7 right so I likely saved myself money anyway!! Congrats on a great score!! Speaking of 2yo maiden races and Breeze Figs, I gotta pick for later today: http://www.brisnet.com/bris_link/pdfs/dougoneill_109632.pdf HOL8 (msw 4.5f 2yo): #9 Nochangenweather (ML:6/1) -> not a pedigree play (by Lightnin N Thunder - only 2nd year of starters and only one 1st-out winner; FS won in 3rd start - a MC'er); but a trainer play (Guillot was 21-6-1-3 with FTS last year with ROI 7.60), a Breeze Fig play (BARMAR08 Grp1 5-over PAR, avgSL +0.13), a purchase play ($400K purchase for a $4K sire) and working well. But watch out for #4 Azul Leon - Lion Heart has started strongly as a sire. (WP #9) Good luck today!!! Alan
RE: Current Hot Topics I completely agree with C about the need for more trainers to speak out. Some are, but not enough are... A couple of days ago CBS News was interviewing trainers at Belmont Park and Mark Hennig commented about the need to eliminate steroids from the sport, pointing out that a horse's body (musculoskeletal system) is simply not designed to carry the excess muscle mass and weight that steroids use (particularly heavy use) brings on... Makes common sense, right??? NYRA better never, ever, ever switch to synthetic surfaces! There will always be some level of breakdowns (like horses in fields) but the most effective action will be to eliminate drugs and enforce with severe penalties... Didn't just this past year, Saratoga ran many more horses than Del Mar but had fewer breakdowns??? Besides, if I was a horse or jockey, I don't think I'd want to be enhaling that stuff getting kicked back at me...we may not know for years about this potential negative side effect...
mpm101 (and everyone else), http://www.nypost.com/seven/05082008/sports/nyra_not_ready_to_go_synthetic_109942.htm From the article: "What came over in the story is that it's imminent, and that is not at all the case," NYRA spokesman John Lee said. "There has been no change in our outlook. We are looking at [a possible conversion], but are not in a position financially to do anything about it. "That is probably a good thing because these synthetic surfaces are still unproven," Lee said. "Our first logical move would be to convert the Belmont training track." Aqueduct-based Rick Dutrow Jr., trainer of Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown, said, "I would be completely lost training and racing on it. I'll never go back to California. Hopefully, they don't invade New York." Hall of Famer Nick Zito, with stables at Belmont and Saratoga, is a leading critic of synthetic surfaces, which he calls "stuff from your attic." Already, Zito notes, they are changing the nature of the sport. "This is a very big issue for the whole industry that needs to be discussed," said Zito, chairman of the National Horse Protection Coalition. "Why spend $50 million on synthetic garbage we know nothing about? Before we rush to judgment again, shouldn't we study how much money it would take to put in safe, state-of-the-art dirt tracks?" Bettors, it seems, side with Dutrow and Zito. Handle at the spring meet at Keeneland, which races over synthetic Polytrack, was down 12.7 percent.
NYRA may not be as shortsighted as it seems. An article in todays NY Post, unfortunately only in print and not online, by Ed Fontaine says that yesterdays story was overstated and that change is not imminent. Among other reasons is that the cost of the change over, about $50 million, is beyond the means of the NYRA and that synthetics are still unproven. mpm101