06/16/2016 10:12AM

Ocala Training Center's surface gets high marks


The six days of the under-tack show for the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. June sale of 2-year-olds and horses of racing age saw a broad spectrum of weather conditions, from blistering heat to the wrath of Tropical Storm Colin.

It was a strong endorsement for the Ocala Training Center’s all-weather Safetrack surface, which saw consistent times among the fastest workers throughout the marathon breeze show and managed torrential rain with only a pair of short delays.

Thirty-two horses breezed an eighth of a mile in 10 seconds flat to tie for the second-fastest effort of the under-tack show, with two to nine horses hitting the time each day.

“The one thing that is unique to the under-tack shows, we try to have a surface that is consistent from the morning to the afternoon and with rain or dry weather,” said OBS president Tom Ventura. “The fact that these horses are running against the clock single-file is much different than at the racetrack, when at the end of the race, you know the winner because the finish line comes.

“That’s the big benefit to this racetrack. It’s very kind to the horses, and it’s able to handle the rain so well that you have similar conditions throughout the day. The wind changes, and you have no control over that, and when it gets really hot, the wax softens a little bit, so we have to maintain it a little different than we do first thing in the morning, but if we didn’t have that surface, we would have missed at least a day.”

Ventura said the horse path on and off the track had more standing water following the tropical storm than the track itself because of the surface’s ability to drain water.

OBS installed the Safetrack surface in 2007 and is the only major North American auction house to host an under-tack show on a synthetic footing.

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