Magna Entertainment Corp. (MECA) went to great expense to install the synthetic surface called Pro-Ride after state officials mandated that the state’s tracks convert to synthetic rather than dirt or soil tracks.
Actually, this was Santa Anita’s second effort with the synthetic surface. The first was a dismal failure and was replaced by the highly-touted Pro-Ride.
For the first month of the Santa Anita meeting, the move seemed to have benefited the horses since the number of reported injuries was minimal.
Last week, however that all changed. Within a span of five days, five horses suffered catastrophic injuries, leaving track officials mystified.
"We’re looking for consistency," said track president Ron Charles in explaining that the maintenance crew had begun "power harrowing." He added that track surface experts were conducting tests to find the cause of the injuries.
"You can hear a lot of good comments about the track but we have to address the fact we’ve had some injuries," Charles said.