This Side Up: Grounds for Optimism

Surface tensions in our business have run pretty deep in recent years, nowhere more so than at Santa Anita. After a failed revolution, with a synthetic track, they eventually backed into a terrifying breakdowns crisis. Racing in California still has its problems, of course, not least the cloud currently over its premier barn--which, after that curious hesitation last week, instead gives its most controversial resident a home game Saturday in the GI Awesome Again S. But given our community's fury right now with another racetrack proprietor, who this week cashed...

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Tapeta Surface Unveiled at Gulfstream

A new era began Thursday at Gulfstream when the 4-year-old claimer Emoji Guy (Khozan) won the opening race on the card, the first to be run over the newly installed Tapeta track. It was the first of four races on the day run on the synthetic surface. As is the case with all of the synthetic races, the first was largely uneventful. Trained by Kathleen O'Connell and ridden by Edwin Gonzalez, Emoji Guy was fifth early before launching a bid nearing the turn. He made the lead in mid-stretch and...

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PETA Files Resolution with Churchill Downs

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which has been buying stock in racetrack companies this year and earlier had purchased stock in Churchill Downs, submitted a resolution calling on Churchill Downs, Inc., to report to shareholders on the feasibility of replacing the Churchill main track with a synthetic surface. The Jockey Club's Equine Injury Database, which compiles statistics regarding racing fatalities, indicates fewer horses sustain fatal catastrophic injuries on synthetic surfaces than on dirt tracks. The incidence of fatality per 1,000 starts for dirt in 2019 was 1.6...

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Dickinson: American Racing Must Go Back to Synthetics

When it comes to synthetic racing surfaces, Michael Dickinson is obviously biased. He is the inventor of Tapeta Footings, now recognized as the leading synthetic surface manufacturer in North America, if not the world. If several American racetracks were to do away with dirt racing and replace it with synthetic tracks, Dickinson would stand to make a lot of money. Yet, that doesn't mean that Dickinson, who now operates Tapeta Footings with his wife Joan Wakefield, does not have the statistics to back up how safe his tracks are when...

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