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State to study whether Santa Anita's synthetic track helps horses

January 25, 2009 |  9:21 am

Santa Anita's synthetic track as been controversial, but backers say it has cut down on horse injuries. Now, the state is going to embark on a study to see if such a link actually can be proved, according to the Pasadena Star-News:

A synthetic track meant to withstand all weather conditions was installed recently as part of a broader effort by the California Horse Racing Board to cut down on racehorse injuries. The board, which in 2006 mandated major California racetracks replace dirt surfaces with synthetics as a safety measure, is now coordinating a study on the relationship between equine injuries and turf type. While some say the new surface has been beneficial, the issue remains controversial. "We do have an obligation to provide the safest racing for horses that we can," said Rick Arthur, veterinarian and equine medical director for the racing board. "You have an animal competing that has been involved in the civilization of man from the very beginning. There's a special relationship between horses and people that dice and ping-pong balls don't have."

-- Shelby Grad

Photo credit: Los Angeles Times