NYRA Customer Service at Belmont (~ RAYMOND)
He talks about how it’s apparent to him that the track is really hard at Belmont right now and how he never used to see wall separations, but in this year alone they are 30% of the injuries he sees! Sprinkle in Paul Moran’s recent post about hard tracks and that the person at NYRA who is responsible for the maintenance of the track goes by the nickname of “fast track” and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
John “Fast Track” Passero first popped up on my radar last summer when Bloodhorse ran an article about how the New York Thoroughbred Horseman’s Association voiced it’s displeasure with the overly fast surfaces.
Trainer Tom Bush was quoted as saying:
“Horses are running way too fast; we’ve got track records being broken,” Bush said. “The track is hard because there isn’t enough preparation after repetitive sealing. Horses are suffering from more foot issues–shedding frogs and bruises–and it is because they are being concussed. After all, the message on John Passero’s cell phone is, ‘John Fast Track Passero.’”
What was “Fast Track’s” response?
“I was a bit surprised by all this,” Passero said. “I don’t know what is driving this train. If horses are having problems, it’s not because of the track. I will stand by the tracks. The NYRA tracks speak for themselves.
So, over tea this morning (which is actually having the desired “happy caffeine feeling” effect, unlike yesterday) I put this letter together to send NYRA. I sent it to email@example.com, the only email address I have (as it’s listed on their site)… if anyone has a better address, please post it here!
I encourage you to copy this letter and send it, or write your own (it’s not like mine is stellar, I just wanted to send something)… but PLEASE, voice your displeasure over their ridiculous practice! Over sealing tracks to make them artificially fast is a complete scourge that must be stopped, let NYRA know that!
To Whom it May Concern:
The recent report of the reemergence of Big Brown’s hoof problems combined with the following quote from Dr. Ian McKinlay are disconcerting at best.
“The tracks at Belmont have definitely firmed up, I can tell that from they type of injuries I’m getting now. When I started in 85 at Belmont, very rarely would I see a wall separation, which starts in the sole. You get an abscess in the sole and it travels up the wall and eventually comes out at the hairline, it’ll take the whole quarter out… I never saw them. As of the the last 4-5 years I’ve been getting more and more of them. This year being 2008, I’m probably running at 30% of the injuries are these wall separations.”
(quote is from the video and starts at 5:58)
As a fan of the sport and NYRA track regular I’m asking that you please stop your practice of over sealing all NYRA tracks. The fact that the director of racing surfaces, John Passero, refers to himself as “fast track” sums up the attitude that must be examined and addressed in this new era of concern for safety of the horses and scrutiny by the media.
Last year when the horseman brought the issue of the over sealed track to the attention of NYRA, Passero was quoted in Bloodhorse as saying:
“If horses are having problems, it’s not because of the track. I will stand by the tracks. The NYRA tracks speak for themselves.”
Please, for the safety of the horses, reexamine and change your track maintenance practices, enough is enough!