JC / Railbird

Links for 2010-01-27


Late to the party on this one but I’ve been fascinated by the jabs thrown by those across the pond. Reactionaries, huh? Well, yes perhaps. Perhaps we’ve been too reactionary switching to synthetics for half of our premier racing events, even going out on a limb to host the big day itself on synthetics for two years in a row!

As has been pointed out elsewhere, I don’t see British racing at the Group level at all on synthetics. If it’s such a lock in the “big picture” then why aren’t they running big races on it?

Have to wonder, if the shoe was on the other foot and turf was the odd surface out would they be as inward-looking and reactionary about tearing up an Ascot or a Newmarket?

Maybe this is a bit over the top and I do believe the claims of being reactionary have some merit only in the frame of rushing into and now out of synthetics. A more guided, small steps approach to laying down synthetics all over North America may have not only been better for the tracks themselves but also for the debate about them, which has now ventured into the no-grey area, take it or leave it realm.

Posted by o_crunk on January 28, 2010 @ 7:58 pm

Me too, possibly because, in their intensity of opinion, the UK observers match the anti-synthetic Americans in a way that no pro-synthetic American commentator does. It gives the debate an unusual nativist-cosmopolitan vibe.

At the same time, they may be right in their larger point. Meydan drew record nominees for the Dubai World Cup. Purse money was no doubt a factor, but the Tapeta surface — and a belief that it may be fairer and safer — probably helped. If American racing retreats to dirt, and if the Breeders’ Cup selects a permanent location with a dirt surface or rotates only among tracks with dirt, the game as we play it will be marginalized.

Posted by Jessica on February 1, 2010 @ 10:33 am