Since horse racing is sometimes criticized for its safety record, every effort to avoid accidents during races is worthwhile. Some risks relate to dangerous riding and racing stewards hand out tough punishments whenever they come across such incidents. However, soggy and uneven racing tracks can also cause horses to stumble, and hence artificial surfaces offer much promise to make horse racing safer.
Various combinations of rubber, sand, wax and synthetic fibers with special qualities go in to the preparation of artificial surfaces on which horse racing can take place with relative safety. An artificial surface is less than a foot deep and connects to an elaborate drainage system through an intervening surface. Synthetic horse racing tracks offer even and uniform conditions for horse racing even during inclement weather. Safety apart, punters get the benefits of more meaningful speed ratings.
Synthetic tracks mimic the feel and purchase of turf with additional advantages of purchase and evenness. Thoroughbreds can race for more years if trained to run on synthetic tracks. These surfaces are very durable and do not need as much maintenance as a natural race course, especially if waxed. It also allows more horse racing days per year.
It is not essential to lay completely new synthetic tracks. Additives are also available which can be mixed with silica derivatives to give the all-weather advantages which natural surfaces lack. This saves on the initial investment and makes an ultimate switch over easier for race track owners.
Synthetic tracks have begun to make a mark in horse racing at many major international centers. Connoisseurs and veterans of the sport who are steeped in its traditions may have some initial hesitation to use something artificial in an outdoor sport-however, the safety and performance benefits are so great, that they are inevitably won over!
You, as a horse racing enthusiast can make a useful contribution to safety and better enjoyment of the sport by speaking to race track managements with whom you are familiar. Do also join our forum and let us know if you have any experience with synthetic horse racing tracks.