Track Conditions and Cancellations

November 26, 2019

Del Mar is getting ready to cancel racing another day this year. The day just happens to be Thanksgiving Day… a great Holiday Card. The forceast is for heavy rain Wednesday and Thursday. 

I’m not sure that’s the way horse racing wants to go. You can’t keep canceling because of sloppy tracks. I’m the first one who would err on the side of caution. We can’t put Horse racing in a bubble and think everything is going to bounce off it. 

We have been running over sloppy tracks since racing began. It’s going on 2020 and we are going to reinvent the wheel?  Cancel racing every time the track gets too much water on it or even the threat is there. If that’s the deal let’s all surrender now because the sport is over. 

So Del Mar are you saying your track is not safe or just erring on the side of caution? Question for you Del Mar… if you didn’t have the recent break downs would you be canceling because of sloppy tracks? I’m inclined to think no. If every time the track changes for one reason or another are your going cancel?  That simply isn’t going to work. There are horses that really move up when the track gets sloppy. You have a good track superintendent and draining system. Both together should be able to assure a safe racing surface. I am not trying to stir the pot but I don’t like the aroma that it’s giving off now. 

How much confidence are you giving your horsemen and the betting public that your track is safe?  One would assume they can’t train those days either. Don’t get me wrong I completely understand what’s going on. But this is not the path we want to take. We need to fix tracks and turf courses so that they can handle all kinds of weather. I don’t think it’s a lot to ask. I think it’s a given. 

I’ve been training horses my entire life and I’m no spring chicken. If I have horses that can’t handle sloppy tracks I just scratch for track conditions with no penalty. Let the trainers decide along with management and the jockeys if the surface is not safe.  A weather man gets paid if he is right or wrong. We all know weather changes from hour to hour. Just think… if they call for heavy rain on Breeders’ Cup weekend are they going to call the races off? I don’t think so. If this is going to be the norm why don’t we just change the track to synthetic? You never have sloppy tracks and horses who don’t like that kind of surface find another track to race at. 

I just think we are over reacting and putting fear into a sport that really doesn’t need it now. Let cooler heads prevail.

See you at the races! 

Disclaimer.. These are my views and my views only. 

Contributing Authors

JJ Graci

JJ was born in Philadelphia, Pa.  and attended Villanova University. He has vast experience in horse racing and broadcasting. JJ has been a fixture in...

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