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Santa Anita's problem, Surface or Standards?

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thunderthor View Drop Down
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  Quote thunderthor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Santa Anita's problem, Surface or Standards?
    Posted: 10 Mar 2019 at 6:45am
What is your opinion on Santa Anita?
Do you think it's more surface related, or medicating problems?
I am tending to lean towards surface, which is not controlled by the trainers, but the Stronach Group's management & staff.
The trainers make their money by having horses live and thrive.

What is everyone else thinking here??
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  Quote jwsonny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2019 at 11:08am
What am I thinking....

As far as cause of horses breaking down, I do believe that it is a healthy combination of training/breeding/medication habits as well as the track condition itself. Santa Anita hasn't exactly had a great track-record when it comes to horse safety. It just so happens that it's receiving more attention in today's world where media is more easily accessible through social media.

The actual news of the struggles at Santa Anita and how it's being reported is where my thoughts tend to turn negative. Let me start by saying this: No one wants a horse to break down. That may sound obvious to those who are a horse racing fan - like those who undoubtedly would be reading this forum. That also rings true for non-racing fans who don't know the ins and outs of horse racing. What non racing fans will know is that horse racing involves horses running while being whipped by humans and there is a lot of money involved. Now they will log on to their favorite social media or news websites and will see "21 horses die at Santa Anita." They will certainly (and rightfully) cringe and come to the conclusion that horse racing is evil or, at the very least, some synonym of evil.

Horse racing is in a precarious position and at a cross-road. You are right in that trainers, owners, jockeys, the whole industry make a living off horses that live and thrive. The horses themselves carry a lot of value. They get health care, food, and most are loved. If horse racing were to ever be shut down, all of that value goes away and I cringe to think of what happens to these horses - as would anyone who has been around horse racing and knows the whole truth.

My best case scenario thinking:

Santa Anita identifies the problem, makes the necessary changes, and things go back towards "normal." This all passes by and the story is forgotten.

My worst case thinking:

The social media warriors turn their attention towards the horse racing industry. Heavy protest is found and broadcast at events like the Kentucky Derby and the Breeders' Cup. Politicians go vote-seeking and speak out against the industry and demand action. Attendance goes down and one by one race tracks begin to close. Thoroughbreds, QH and Standard bred horses all over the U.S. will suddenly be on their own with little-to-no care.

Bottom line is you need to demand answers and change if you're a fan of horse racing and especially if you work in horse racing. If you don't then the people looking for the next the source of outrage will demand it and THAT will have far greater consequences.

Edited by jwsonny - 10 Mar 2019 at 11:18am
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  Quote smokeglack Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2019 at 12:26pm
I agree JW, maybe Given or someone has a bit more insight on this matter.  I've been To 2 Breeders Cups and 10 Belmont Stakes races. I say this, to say this.. I have always known, not believed, that racetracks are not being held responsible for their dirty tactics. I saw 2 horses break down in the same damn race. Why, it's simple. TV coverage had basically dominated the money for these events.

So when I went to Belmont on big race events and see the first race claimers running 1:08 and change for 6f, I knew it was a problem. I'd see fractions that were inconceivable to ordinary Wed races. This happened almost every year. Coincidence?, I think not. I remember like 5 horses breaking down on the same racecard in late 90's.

They scrape the track so it's like concrete.

I don't know about SA surface. I know they tried before to make safer, but got this. But how many have to be put down before we address the issue? Kind of like Car Safety standards and recalls I guess.

Someone has to know why it's happening like that at SA. If not, it's simple. It was a money issue addressing. JMO
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  Quote mcallister Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2019 at 12:31pm
I think you're pretty well bang on with what people outside of the industry think, and what would happen to those horses, should tracks start shutting down.

I grew up around Standardbred Racing,and know all about track mismanagement, as when I was very young, Kingston Park Raceway was in full flight 2 nights a week. When the owners stopped caring, and putting money in to the track, the owners/trainers started going to better tracks, racing for better purses, leaving only the locals that were in it as a hobby, and soon the track closed for good.
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  Quote leesnyder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2019 at 4:43pm
My own opinion based on what I've heard from local news.....the track surface make-up is not the issue. They've had it thoroughly tested. The thoughts are we have had an unusual amount of rain this winter, heavy rain and the combination of that along with how they prepared the track with the heavy rain, may have been the cause. I stress may....
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  Quote elizabethross Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Mar 2019 at 10:30pm

I would like to see what the reports say after the necropsies are performed.

As of two days ago, I read that none have been performed yet.

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  Quote thunderthor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2019 at 5:24am
I know the Stronach Group definitely care about the horses themselves, they wouldn't have become such Moguls in the industry without it.

Where I believe there could be a problem, is within the staff that do the upkeep.
Their main guy had just retired, and some newb was doing it. Maybe more training on these individuals on what to do if circumstances are such & such a condition.
Cali is well known for sinkholes, rain washes away the top layers of soil.

I don't like the no lasix rule. There's a lot of horses that rely on the bleeder meds that fill race cards.

You think the animal rights activists are heavy now, wait until 4 horses in a cheap claimer collapse on the final stretch, right in front of them? I'm sure that would go over really well.
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  Quote trooper7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2019 at 8:55pm
This is a complicated issue.

The breed has had stamina bred out of them. 50-60 yrs ago horses could run once a week. That can't be done anymore, but to pay the bills people push the envelope and run them perhaps much earlier that they have any right to.
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  Quote iant Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Mar 2019 at 5:42am
This is not just an issue at Santa Anita it is the world over.

There are no simple answers. Though more could be done. The will to do something from within racing is poor they tend to live in a little pompous bubble. They tend to ignore the wishes of the majority in society.

In the UK the BHA are trying to do things to appease the outside influences but all they get is abuse from within racing. It will also be their fault if racing gets banned. Stronach Group will be in the same boat but at least they are doing something which is better than nothing.   

The soundness of the horse bred today is a long way away from the 1950's. That is a big issue.

The way horses are trained is vastly different. This is to do with many time, costs and resources (skilled dedicated staff).

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  Quote thunderthor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Mar 2019 at 9:43am
At least with the standardbreds they are trying to push the endurance levels as of late, pushing the norm of 1m to 1 1/16 at some smaller tracks. I believe there's a breed line in standardbreds that could push it up to 1 1/2m, however they still race them too often, about 10 day breaks.
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