Magna chairman Frank Stronach has declared that pro-ride will remain at Santa Anita for the time being. One part of his argument makes complete sense to anyone with an economic background. Replacing the surface would cost him an additional $8 to $10 million dollars and with the current state of Magna, which is in bankruptcy, it makes sense not to put that kind of money into what is clearly a troubled project. If my company was in bankruptcy, I certainly would not be putting out an extra $8 to $10 million dollars to replace something that currently works (granted it is not perfect, but it is also not the unmitigated disaster that some people are making it out to be) and adheres to the current regulations of the California Horse Racing Board.
Therein lies the rub with what Stronach has announced, since he went on to say that racing dates should not be awarded by the CHRB, but should be part of an "open market" policy, where the racetracks just set their own dates and fight about it afterward. Stronach has a correct beef with the CHRB. They overreacted far too much with their mandate several years ago that tracks had to install synthetic surfaces. The pluses and minuses of synthetic surfaces had not properly been taken into consideration when they handed down their directive and now they are showing the common sense they should have demonstrated in the first place by intimating that they would be willing to relax that directive in the future.
Stronach went on to say, according to the article on www.drf.com, that "there is no new thing here until we get a strong indication that the government is committed to free enterprise, and that the horsemen are committed to free enterprise." So, essentially Stronach is saying that once everyone agrees that he is right, he will put in an improved surface. The question then becomes what is more important here being right or doing what is right for the sport? Given the statements made by Frank Stronach today, it would seem his answer is the former. Unfortunately for everyone involved, the correct answer is actually the latter.
Tune in tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!