08/17/2010 10:51PM

Time for Stronach to step up for bettors


Frank Stronach, chairman of Magna International Developments, the company that owns Santa Anita, is scheduled to speak before the California racing community Wednesday at Del Mar.

Stronach will speak about his plan for the “health and future of California horse racing.”

Handicappers hope Stronach also addresses the issue of racetrack surfaces.

Handicappers hope Stronach will announce plans to replace the beleaguered synthetic surface at Santa Anita with a conventional dirt surface.

After more than three years of experimentation, California synthetic surfaces have fallen short of the mark. Horses still get injured. Maintenance issues continue to confound. The surface at Santa Anita does not even drain in wet weather.

Horsemen are frustrated.

Handicappers are exasperated.

The surfaces change. Bias one day, no bias the next. It goes back and forth.

Pace does not matter, except sometimes when it does matter. And pace almost never matters around two turns.

Speed used to be a good thing. Speed is blunted on synthetics. Got a fast horse? Then ship to Saratoga.

California horseplayers have had enough experimentation.

It is time for Stronach to do the right thing, and in at least one small way, lead California back to respectability.

Wednesday at Del Mar, it is time for Stronach to announce that the synthetic surface at Santa Anita will be replaced with a conventional dirt surface.

That is all horseplayers want to hear.