First off let me give a shout out to one of my favorite people Afleet Treet, oh and don't let me for get SOTO. These are two of my favorite horse racing peeps on the msnbc messaging board. These ladies were there front and center at the Breeders Cup this year at Santa Anita and were able to see how things went down both days. They gave the Pro-Ride a thumbs up due to the fact that all of our racers came back safely on both days. No accidents, that is the most important thing, but i'll get to that in a moment. I wanted to also give a shout out to Afleet Treet's message board located @ http://horseracingmania.freeforums.org/. Make sure to go register yourself at her website and drop her and the other posters a line. This is a legitimate board that gives everyone the ability to post their thoughts and comments without being judged. I hope that you'll all take the time to go look at the different threads that are set up to discuss very important issues that pertain to Horse Racing.
Now back to the issue at hand. The Pro-Ride surface that is being used at Santa Anita is what is in question at this time. The questions are abundant and they vary. The first question that i personally have is why would the Breeders Cup put so much emphasis on making the playing field more level when it comes to the Europeans coming over here to race on our biggest days. In my opinion the fact that the dirt races which are tradition were taking off of the dirt and put onto a new synthetic surface that not many of our horses are used to is sad and demeaning to horse racing and shows that certain people have no idea what the sport of kings traditionally means.
It doesnt mean taking world class athletes and making them run on surfaces that are not traditional. Consider for a moment asking Usain Bolt to instead of running the 100 or 200 meter dash on the normal surface, to run these sprints on a Poly-mixed, rubber blend. The idea seems incredibly stupid, almost insane. The same thing can be said sadly for the Breeders Cup who felt it necessary to even the playing field for the Europeans so that the horses they bring over have a chance against the U.S. best dirt horses. Is this tradition, you might ask. Well for 24 straight years the Breeders Cup dirt races were run on well - "traditional dirt". Fair and Square, if the europeans wanted to run their turf horses against the U.S's best dirt horses on dirt so be it. Thats the way it goes. Here's a question, do you think the europeans will take their biggest race the Arc De' Trioumph and put it on dirt for the U.S. to possibly have a better chance against their best horses. Not a chance in the world, sadly the poor and seemingly amateur mismanagement of such a huge event as the Breeders Cup would lead to the dirt races being put on a synthetic surface. It was not fair in any way shape form or fashion, why because it breaks tradition. Traditions are the basis by which we live, the Kentucky Derby on synthetics would be a bust, the Preakness or Belmont stakes on synthetics would be an even bigger bust.
Tradition means the Triple Crown is difficult to win. the KyDerby, 2 weeks later the Preakness, 3 weeks later the Belmont, changing tradition would mean adding a week between theDerby and the Preakness and at this point, asterisks would have to go up after any horse won the Triple Crown. The same would have to be said of the results that came from this weekend of grand champions losing races and struggling to find their way home in the stretch. The prime examples are Curlin & Ginger Punch, Curlin finishing fourth, and Ginger Punch finishing an amazingly frustrating 6th, totally floundering in the mire of the rubber bands and tires that she was running on. If there is anyone that can tell me without a question that Ginger Punch the defending Ladies Classic champion and 3 time Grade 1 winner this year was outclassed by 5 others, then please stand up, because its not going to happen. The chart notes for Ginger Punch read, "GINGER PUNCH failed to mount a serious rally" that has never happened before, ever in her career, why would it happen now, well the synthetic rubber band surface would have a great deal to do with it. The sad thing is more owners and trainers didnt make the decision that Bobby Frankel and Nick Zito and Barclay Tagg made with their charges to keep them off of this pitiful surface that gives no credence to true race horses. I feel that the likes of Curlin, Ginger Punch, Munnings, and others that ran poorly due to the surface should have been left at home to allow the B.C. and Santa Anita Park to suffer the dismal effects of a B.C. without a buzz horse. I hope in the future this will be the case also, I for one will not contemplate attending the B.C. if and when the dirt races are run over that silly surface. I will gladly be there in 2010 for Churchill but as for synthetics and the likes there of, they do not diminish the Legacy of the Great Champions that we have come to know.