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Old 12-27-2020, 11:51 AM   #1
dilanesp
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the best laid plans

So Santa Anita spent a bunch of money building a new 6 1/2 furlong turf chute that is off the backstretch and runs flat, replacing the 6 1/2 furlong down the hill sprints that were thought to be unsafe because a couple of horses broke down as they skidded across the dirt crossing.

But... there's still a dirt crossing! And watch the very first race they ran over it- the 6th yesterday. The The Rule of Kings went skidding into the dirt crossing, lost his action, and dropped back from near the front to next to last in the 12 horse field.

Not sure this is a great improvement. They are still hitting that dirt at high speed.
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Old 12-28-2020, 02:45 PM   #2
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Watching in slo-mo it appears he jumped at the crossover to dirt and lost many lengths. Probably won't be the last one we see do that.
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Old 12-28-2020, 03:12 PM   #3
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This doesn't have any weird naming conventions from a chart perspective does it? I got bit once by somebody officially calling something 'outer turf'. From the dawn of time there was turf and inner turf. smh
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Old 12-28-2020, 03:52 PM   #4
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First of all, "a couple of horses" did not break down in 6.5F races on the Hill Course. The numbers were significantly higher than in any other distance or surface. I love the Hill Course, and am sad to see it go, but I understand why they felt a need to make a change.

That being said, there is really no comparison between horses crossing the dirt course shortly after the break, as they did on Sunday, and crossing the dirt 4.5 furlongs into a race, just as the course is leveling off after a fairly steep incline, after horses have just completed the first half mile in as low as 42 seconds and change. Frankly, Sunday's race is comparable to the American Oaks on Saturday, where they ran the very first part of the race down the hill. No argument that it looks kind of ugly, and clearly some horses seem a bit confused ( for lack of a better word ) but I don't think it is even reasonably close to the same safety risk that the Downhill course seemed to create in 6.5F races.

I'm no fan of the Stronach Group, but especially given the myriad of things you can criticize them about, this one seems like they are trying to make the best of a difficult situation. I applaud them for at least trying to find a solution. That's something we in racing need to do more often.
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Old 12-28-2020, 03:53 PM   #5
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Looks like Santa Anita has finally added all their replays to Youtube, only took them a decade but hey its a start.
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Old 12-28-2020, 04:27 PM   #6
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Looks like Santa Anita has finally added all their replays to Youtube, only took them a decade but hey its a start.
They started doing it early this year or late last year, and also have added a ton of workouts too. It could be all, I'm not sure, but certainly any stakes horse is there.
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Old 12-28-2020, 08:15 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by the little guy View Post
First of all, "a couple of horses" did not break down in 6.5F races on the Hill Course. The numbers were significantly higher than in any other distance or surface. I love the Hill Course, and am sad to see it go, but I understand why they felt a need to make a change.

That being said, there is really no comparison between horses crossing the dirt course shortly after the break, as they did on Sunday, and crossing the dirt 4.5 furlongs into a race, just as the course is leveling off after a fairly steep incline, after horses have just completed the first half mile in as low as 42 seconds and change. Frankly, Sunday's race is comparable to the American Oaks on Saturday, where they ran the very first part of the race down the hill. No argument that it looks kind of ugly, and clearly some horses seem a bit confused ( for lack of a better word ) but I don't think it is even reasonably close to the same safety risk that the Downhill course seemed to create in 6.5F races.

I'm no fan of the Stronach Group, but especially given the myriad of things you can criticize them about, this one seems like they are trying to make the best of a difficult situation. I applaud them for at least trying to find a solution. That's something we in racing need to do more often.
This is a very precise post- much more so than my OP- and I generally agree with it. But I am still skeptical about crossing the dirt 1f into a 6 1/2f race. Those horses are going very fast.
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Old 12-28-2020, 11:05 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by dilanesp View Post
So Santa Anita spent a bunch of money building a new 6 1/2 furlong turf chute that is off the backstretch and runs flat, replacing the 6 1/2 furlong down the hill sprints that were thought to be unsafe because a couple of horses broke down as they skidded across the dirt crossing.

But... there's still a dirt crossing! And watch the very first race they ran over it- the 6th yesterday. The The Rule of Kings went skidding into the dirt crossing, lost his action, and dropped back from near the front to next to last in the 12 horse field.

Not sure this is a great improvement. They are still hitting that dirt at high speed.
That wasn't a slide, the horse jumped at it, it was like watching the hurdle races from Kempton earlier in the day.
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Old 12-29-2020, 12:03 AM   #9
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Was nice to see Santa Anita addressing this issue already today by planning on giving horses in these races more warm up time, hopefully this will give them a few more minutes to check out the crossover & not be startled over the crossing. I was surprised though to see that with the addition of the chute they'll be suspending any turf races less than 6 furlongs, but their reasoning makes sense.
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Old 12-30-2020, 01:30 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by the little guy View Post
First of all, "a couple of horses" did not break down in 6.5F races on the Hill Course. The numbers were significantly higher than in any other distance or surface. I love the Hill Course, and am sad to see it go, but I understand why they felt a need to make a change.

The problem with your theory... is that Stronach "felt the need to make a change" as soon as he took over at SA, ages ago. His then need was to make money by selling-off some of the land. (anything that happened since was just molding data and opportunity to fit the original narrative)

The racing accident that doomed the downhill sprints for the final time had far more to do with traffic than with the dirt cross-over, and said incident was merely used inappropriately to put the final nail into the coffin of the downhill sprints.

These fools have bungled Santa Anita into a nearly unrecognizable mess from day one.
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Old 12-30-2020, 01:50 PM   #11
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The problem with your theory... is that Stronach "felt the need to make a change" as soon as he took over at SA, ages ago. His then need was to make money by selling-off some of the land. (anything that happened since was just molding data and opportunity to fit the original narrative)

The racing accident that doomed the downhill sprints for the final time had far more to do with traffic than with the dirt cross-over, and said incident was merely used inappropriately to put the final nail into the coffin of the downhill sprints.

These fools have bungled Santa Anita into a nearly unrecognizable mess from day one.
I'm not sure I understand the claim about Stronach and selling land. The TSG people definitely think that the big parking lot behind the grandstand and perhaps some of the area near the shopping mall where the stables are now located are potentially targets for redevelopment- they have floated plans to do that for years.

But the downhill turf course and infield parking lot sit behind the backstretch of SA. They are part of the track's backdrop. People don't want to go to Santa Anita and see a bunch of development back there blocking the San Gabriel Mountains, and I doubt the City of Arcadia, which is very much a bedroom community, would it allow it anyway. (There are residential neighborhoods just behind that parking lot and hill.)

Plus, everything TSG has said publicly indicates they like the downhill turf course. Indeed, they are not even ruling out holding 6 1/2 down the hill races again, despite the new chute. They certainly think the chute is fine for longer races where the horses don't cross the dirt at such a high speed.

I don't think this is a land issue. This was a safety issue- and actually, one that has been known about for three decades, at least since River Drummer's breakdown in the 1980's.
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Old 12-31-2020, 01:29 PM   #12
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Why do they feel so compelled to run 6 1/2F grass races to begin with?

Turf sprints may be growing category, but it's still 3rd tier racing in this country and typically done at 5F and 5 1/2F anyway. If you have a course that can also handle any or all of 6F, 6 1/2F, or 7F turf races that's great. But it's not like 6 1/2F grass racing is some of kind of classic distance that you should go out of your way to run if there are safety issues or significant expenses.
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Old 12-31-2020, 02:10 PM   #13
dilanesp
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Why do they feel so compelled to run 6 1/2F grass races to begin with?

Turf sprints may be growing category, but it's still 3rd tier racing in this country and typically done at 5F and 5 1/2F anyway. If you have a course that can also handle any or all of 6F, 6 1/2F, or 7F turf races that's great. But it's not like 6 1/2F grass racing is some of kind of classic distance that you should go out of your way to run if there are safety issues or significant expenses.
There's a lot to this. The 5 1/2's were perfect. Yes, they start on dirt but by the time the horses get up to speed it is grass all the way.
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Old 01-01-2021, 01:27 PM   #14
JohnGalt1
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In the few 6.5 furlong races run so far, how do the times compare to the races in past years?

From Cynthia pars Clm50K 1.11.2

From Horse Street pars Clm50k 1:11.94
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Old 01-01-2021, 01:42 PM   #15
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Why the need to run 6.5f on turf? Itís a bastard distance.
I think only WO and Bel run turf sprints longer than 5.5f.
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