Should sprint racing return to the downhill turf course?

Poll choices
21 Comments

  • Mark Gates - 4 months ago

    Not enough evidence to show the course is unsafe..

  • Pamela - 4 months ago

    I love the downhill races it’s a part of Santa Anita’s unique racing.

  • Jim Wark - 4 months ago

    In California, unlike many tracks on the east coast, we have only one turf surface to work with. The funny thing is we have many more days available to run on the turf with maybe the exception of Florida.
    A wider turf course would help where you could move the rails out, but this is only one solution.
    With all of the great minds available, I cannot for the lie of me understand why this group don't understand the reasons for the crossover being slightly more dangerous?? Consider this. Is the surface under the turf before the dirt the same? If not there is part of the issue, it changes the speed and depth that the foot impact the surface with. A solution may be a gradual surface change for say the last 1/16 of a mile before the crossover.
    I would also think that running a downhill 5 1/2 or if available 6 furlong race would be safer than the 5 furlong dash and turn now being used.
    Lastly, to reduce leg injuries and breakdowns, stop sealing the track to near cement levels in the rain.
    I do not have the statistics handy, but weren't there less injuries in the mud??
    You could at least get some good prices and use the shoe board for clues !!!

  • Chris Howell - 4 months ago

    Pursuant to the track corrections, the dirt was too soft. It was like going from grass to "beach sand" to grass, making it unsafe. Now that the unusual amount of rain we had is over, and with the Breeders Cup in our near future, make the track fast again and get on with it.

  • Robert Fleming - 4 months ago

    I like the idea of the outside turf course which would eliminate the problem meantime let the jockeys decide.

  • Fred Riecke - 4 months ago

    Even though the 6 1/2 downhill was probably my favorite race, the level of fatalities is too high. I’d like to see the turf course rebuilt to eliminate the dirt crossing.

  • Carol - 4 months ago

    I have watched the downhill races at Santa Anita for about 20 years. While I love the downhill races. I always held my breath as they come across the dirt section and onto the the grass course. There is always one or two horses that either seem to shy away or horse seemingly not getting traction and sliding around. The ONLY time I have NOT seen that was when it was synthetic track. I still believe there is something wrong with the dirt track base.. This is why I think there was a spike on the down hill for injuries.

  • Norm Youtan - 4 months ago

    Absolutely yes. Just because of one incident Ritvo
    panics and shuts down s fan favorite.

  • Jeffrey Prescott - 4 months ago

    Been going to 'Anita since 1966.....the part of the race hitting the dirt always scared me....but I'm not a horse.
    I have never seen (in person) an accident on the downhill course.......
    Keep it.

  • Ross Lerner - 4 months ago

    Let's see what the jockey colony thinks. Why not survey them? I think 5F Turf Races are the most dangerous races written. The fast pace and tight turns can't be easy on a horse's knees and ankles. Those races look like a disaster waiting to happen

  • William Prieto - 4 months ago

    The downhill course should definitely be used. I agree with Alex Solis. Jockeys mostly feel safe on it. That’s what gives Santa Anita it’s uniqueness.

  • Slowwriter - 4 months ago

    What a wonderful solution it would be to move the turf to the outside! Other than Kentucky Downs, where else would a track patron be so close to the runners on the grass. The beautiful place made ever more so.

  • Bill - 4 months ago

    European turf courses have many different twists and turns. As far as I know, safety is no problem there. What is our problem?

  • David Kiser - 4 months ago

    I have watched Santa Anita races for over 35 years, and there is nothing that compares to a race carded on the downhill turf course. For pure excitement nothing in the US compares to this unique setup. I can recall the first time I got to see a race down the hill live. I don't recall , but was midweek and probably a mid level claiming race. Nevertheless, as they rocketed down that hill and crossed the main dirt track then straightened for home. It was one of my great experiences in horse racing. To do away with this specific race down the hill, would be more than another black eye on the way things have been done to this great race course this past year !

  • Neil - 4 months ago

    The downhill turf is one of the unique aspects of west coast racing. To see them come down the hill is something I’ll never forget seeing for the first time. If the jockeys say it’s safe, they probably know more about racing than anyone in the Stronach group. Keep the downhill turf.

  • Dennis McGarry - 4 months ago

    As a player, I always loved that downhill course. It was a solid handicapping angle to look for horses with experience over it, because it is so unique. The remodel that Mr. Ritvo speaks of would be a good solution to the dirt crossover however, I don't think it is realistic given the cost of doing so. I am in favor of keeping races over that course. It remains the closest thing to a European style course west of the Mississippi. My favorite moments at Santa Anita were watching Irish O'Brien run down the hill. She loved that course!

  • steven wells - 4 months ago

    The downhill course is what makes the track unique otherwise it's just another ordinary track not The Great Race Place

  • Ray - 4 months ago

    I never understood the appeal of the downhill course. If this was a feature at other tracks and especially Southern California tracks it would make a little more sense. The Downhill turf performance records are unique and do not usually translate to flat performance. So for one track's meet there is a subset of performances on the turf that are meaningless anywhere else. The dirt cross over is even more problematic as to turf performance, but also always seemed unsafe. The higher fatality count is a problem, but beyond fatalities how many injuries occur due to the sudden change of surfaces for horses coming down hill with a sharp turn at 40mph? If S.A. did the Woodbine approach and placed the turf course outside the dirt course, the crossover problem is solved and it seems it would lead to better turf racing here.

  • James Chan - 4 months ago

    the Unique Downhill course has been used for sprints for DECADES, why, All Of a Sudden is there such outrage and accompanied scrutiny? Did something happen overnight? Boxers have been killed in the ring, most suffer brain damage, but is anyone calling for the Boxing Industry to be abolished? There's more than compassion for horses behind this Vilification of Horse Racing.

  • Dyan Abrams - 4 months ago

    Racing down the hill is a fan favorite

  • Stephen - 4 months ago

    All of my life they have been running the hill with minimal issues as Mr Solis stares. It is also unique and one of the beautiful parts of racing at Santa Anita. You need a much different horse at 6 1/2 then at 5. I submit the 5 is more dangerous as the abrupt left turn while running a sub 21 first quarter. No brained but only the man who has now ruined racing nationally, Tim Ritvo, would propose. It’s insane almost a desire to ensure more problems which Atronach clearly want as a means to sell the property

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