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Pennsylvania Study Of Tapeta Surface Effects

Thursday, 20th September 2007

The Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission "has embarked on a study to determine whether synthetic-surface racing has an impact on horses' bronchial systems," reported bloodhorse.com. Though synthetic surfaces have been in use for US racing for about 2 years, the Pennsylvania study "is believed to be the 1st performed by a state regulatory agency". It involves horses at Penn National Race Course (which has a dirt surface) & Presque Isle Downs (the 1st racetrack to install a Tapeta Footings surface). PHRC chief veterinarian Dr Jerry Pack explained bronchial tests "are being performed on 20 Penn National-based horses, 10 of which shipped to Presque Isle (the new track near Erie). Tests will be done to see how dirt & the synthetic surface (primarily sand & fibers) impact horses' breathing."  PHRC executive director Ben Nolt added: "There are a lot of firsts happening here. To have this Tapeta surface is a neat opportunity. I've yet to have one call about anything negative (with the surface), but we do want to check the horses' lungs just to see." Pack added the surface (which debuted for racing on September 1) has been "very forgiving" to horses: "The horses are coming back good & they look great. If the surface reduces breakdowns, that's tremendous; but if we expose the whole horse population to potential lung problems, that's not. So far, vets have scoped horses & found nothing, so we're hoping for the best."

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