Belmont features one of the safest racing surfaces in US

POSTED ON  |  07-06-2019

Belmont Park
NEW YORK (AP) — The home of the Belmont Stakes is laps ahead of other U.S. racetracks when it comes to keeping horses safe. Belmont Park and other tracks around the state of New York have had some of the fewest horse deaths in the sport. Amid the 26 horse deaths at California’s Santa Anita Park since late December, the Belmont will be run Saturday on a track that national observers say is among the safest and best maintained in the country.

A major reason for the high praise is the attention given to Belmont Park’s dirt and turf track surfaces by Glen Kozak, senior vice president of facilities and racing surfaces at the New York Racing Association. “They’ve just turned the corner and not all the racetracks have kind of turned that corner where they feel like this is how they manage it,” said Dr. Mick Peterson, executive director of the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory in Lexington, Kentucky. “And that’s really where they’re in the lead.”

Belmont Park’s 2018 fatality rate of 0.98 per 1,000 starts is significantly under the national average of 1.68, and there hasn’t been a fatal breakdown in the Belmont, the third race of the Triple Crown, since 1993. Compare that with a 2.42 fatality rate at Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby, and 2.33 at Pimlico Race Course, which hosts the Preakness.

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