Currently, there are six American tracks using a synthetic surface. Synthetic, supposedly, reduces the number of catastrophic breakdowns. But because these surfaces are more costly to maintain than was originally promised, the trend, according to Ray Paulick (Paulick Report, 2/20/14) is back toward dirt – Del Mar, one of the six, is slated to revert in 2015. This, of course, should come as no surprise. As Paulick himself says, “…the majority of horsemen were never convinced that the safety and prevention of catastrophic injuries trumps everything else in the sport.”
Still, Paulick urges racing to reconsider: “An industry turning its back on a surface that has statistically proven to be safer is not a winning public relations move. …Injuries happen, whether it’s two horses running across a paddock of lush grass or a full field racing down the stretch of a dirt, synthetic or turf track. The goal for racing, no matter what the surface, is to reduce that number and make the sport safer and more palatable for the public.”
Well, Mr. Paulick, while true that injuries can and do happen in more natural settings, racehorses are dying for the most shameful of reasons – $2 bets. And no matter how much “reform” you and other apologists achieve, they will continue to die, on all surfaces, with or without drugs, even after the best of pre-race exams. Guaranteed. So, there is no cleaning up this “sport.” It is corrupt, from core out.