Rachel Alexandra will not run in this year's Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita because owner Jess Jackson does not want to run her on a "plastic" track. He might want to be reminded that synthetic tracks have significantly reduced on-track fatalities. He might want to remember that Rachel won on a synthetic track (Keeneland). And he might want to remember that his horse Curlin led in the stretch of last year's Breeders Cup Classic -- hardly a sign that he didn't handle the track. But, what I think he remembers the most is Rachel Alexandra would have to face the unbeaten Zenyatta in the Ladies Classic. So much for what's good for horse racing, huh, Jess?
When the CHRB came up with the idea to force the major racetracks in California to switch to poly surfaces, I doubt they considered the consequences that would follow. Some of the best horses, jockeys and trainers have moved out of state. Field sizes have shrunk. Now, the owner of the best 3-year-old in training, Rachel Alexandra, said she'll not run in the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita because of its "plastic surface." I don't blame him considering the way his Curlin ran on it last year, finishing a beaten fourth by competition he'd have dominated on a dirt track.
The action was supposed to benefit the industry and state. If anything, it's had the opposite effect.