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IT'S STRONGER THAN DIRT
William Nack
October 24, 1988
Horses kick up their heels on this high-tech track
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October 24, 1988

It's Stronger Than Dirt

Horses kick up their heels on this high-tech track

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Not that the surface doesn't have its critics. A number of them said that the Remington course was a good deal harder and more jarring in the morning—when the cool weather seemed to tighten the surface—than it was in the afternoon, when the heat of the sun appeared to expand it, making it deeper, fluffier and more tiring. "The track is too fast in the morning and too slow in the afternoon," says trainer Larry Edwards. "But you have to give them time to work out the kinks."

The track superintendent, Dennis Moore, says that all he needs is time and experience in learning how to best groom the new surface. "As it cures out, with the changing weather, it will be the same in the morning as the afternoon," says Moore. And he might be right. On Oct. 1, a 4-year-old gelding named Silver Icon won a 6�-furlong race in the world-record time of 1:13[3/5]—and it had rained that morning.

Equitrack has received considerable publicity in the industry, and horsemen and track managers around the country are looking carefully at Remington's bold experiment. The possibilities of the surface are staggering. Horses that run as well on the dirt as on the turf? Horses that do not run down? A racetrack without mud and mire? A safer track for horses and riders? A track that is as easy to keep combed and maintained as a crew cut? Vance, now the Remington general manager, understands the implications of what he and DeBartolo have done. For now, all he can do is laugh at the scene that followed the rain on Sept. 2, when the track was drained after the first harrowing and those three turf horses came roaring home in the eighth on the dirt.

"It was like God sent that rain, so we could show off," Vance says. "We made history that day."

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