An Editorial


David L. Howard


Editor’s Note:  While there is no room in this industry for even one sore horse, the following story about a recent USA Today article puts a little perspective on the 10 horses determined to be bi-laterally sore at this years Celebration. 


I find it unbelievable that the 10 “sore” horses at this years show attracted more national media attention than the 27 horses that had to be put down the past two years at Turfway Park.  The article goes on to applaud the fact that there were only three fatal breakdowns in 2005-2006.  


Granted that is wonderful progress but I don’t believe we have ever had to put a horse down at The Celebration and can you imagine the headlines if we ever did!



A recent article in USA Today reports that Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky is replacing their dirt track of 70 years with a sound-muffling product called Polytrack.  Keeneland spent $8,000,000 replacing dirt with 16,000 tons of the cushy blend of recycled rubber, synthetic fibers and mined silica sand developed in the 1980’s in England.


One of the major benefits of this new product is it appears to help prevent the catastrophic breakdowns that result in euthanizing horses.  The story cites the example of Turfway Park in Florence, Kentucky, the first North American track to install Polytrack.


Its 2004-2005 fall-winter meet was the last season on dirt and they had 24 catastrophic breakdowns.  With Polytrack installed for the 2005-2006 meet, there were only 3 fatal breakdowns even though the number of entries increased from 8,925 to 10,208.  The article also points out that the surface is reducing all injuries and vet bills are down more than half of what they have been historically.