Breakdowns concern Santa Anita’s Charles

Four horses have broken down on the synthetic Pro-Ride surface in the first four days of Santa Anita’s 2008-09 meet, and two had to be euthanized. Santa Anita president Ron Charles told The Thoroughbred Times this week he is very concerned about the matter, so much so that the surface was power harrowed by workers Tuesday and tests were run on the track.

“We did some work on the track this morning, and it’s something we’re taking seriously,” Charles told The Thoroughbred Times. “We’re looking for consistency–power harrowing it to see exactly how tight it is. They’re doing a lot of tests.

“Most of the riders say it’s a very forgiving surface and the track seems to have a good bounce to it, so we’re not exactly sure why this is happening. We went almost a month without picking one horse up in the morning, literally thousands of horses working. The confidence level was extremely high coming into the meet.”

To me, it’s just more evidence that horses are going to break down no matter what type of surface. You have these big, strong animals running on those spindly legs, and when they come down wrong, well, bad things are going to happen.

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