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Original Issue

The Question: As a rider, which do you consider the best track for horse racing in the country? The worst? (Asked of jockeys.)

Burgess Stable
"The best tracks are Belmont, Hialeah and Saratoga. I like the wide, sweeping turns. Rails are easier to ride. The worst is Bowie. It's a narrow track with very sharp turns. On a wet day it's deep on the inside and faster on the outside, so all jockeys jam trying to run the outside."

JIM NICHOLS, Las Cruces, N.M.
"Belmont Park is the best by far. Everything is perfect—it's just a wonderful plant. The big wide track is great for horses. They enjoy racing on it. So do I. Tropical Park is the worst for riders. The afternoon sun hits you right in the eyes. They've had some bad falls because you just can't see."

John Malleto Stable
"I haven't ridden them all. Belmont and Hialeah are the best I've raced on. There's more room to ride and the tracks have a better cushion. The worst is Bowie. When muddy, it's too soft and full of holes. It's dangerous for horses and riders. There are too many falls on that track."

ERIC GUERIN, New Orleans, La.
Alfred Gwynne
Vanderbilt stable
"Jamaica has the best riding surface. Last year they put a new surface on the track at Saratoga. It's now on a par with Jamaica. When I rode on the Santa Anita track I thought it was the worst. I dislike it more than any other. It's very hard when dry. When muddy, it doesn't dry out fast."

BILL BOLAND, Corpus Christi, Texas
"Belmont Park. It's ideal. I don't see what they can do to improve the track. I love to I race there. I'd also like to say a good word for Santa Anita. It's a lightning-fast track. The worst is Tropical Park. The sun blinds you. When you have a combination of mud and sun it's dangerous."

DOUG DODSON, Miami, Fla.
"Belmont Park has the best track. It's wide and wonderful. Riders seldom bunch and jam. Churchill Downs is the worst track in the country. It's cuppy. In spots, the ground gives too much under a horse. There are many paths across the track. I had a horse break a leg on one of those paths."

TED ATKINSON, Old Westbury, N.Y.
Greentree Farm
"Belmont Park is the standout. Track speed doesn't vary more than 1½ seconds in any weather. Tropical Park is the worst. It seems almost round, making it impossible to plan and run a race as I would like. The sun hits your eyes at the finish just when you should have your best vision."

GEORGE GLASSNER, Louisville, Ky.
Nelson Aisel Stable
"Hialeah has as good a running surface as any. It's well laid out. You can see perfectly. The flamingos give me a lift. How fast can a flamingo go? Not as fast as I can. Narragansett is the best track in New England and Dade Park in Kentucky is the worst in the country."

PETE (The Clock) ANDERSON, St. James, N.Y.
"Belmont. A rider's opinion is bound to be I influenced by the luck he has had. But Belmont gets the nod for its fine track and size. The Jamaica track has a good riding surface. I don't particularly like Tropical Park, but all the tracks are wonderful. I make my living on them."

DOM BRUM FIELD, Lexington, Ky.
Brumfield Public Stables
"In my experience in six states, I think Hialeah has the best running track. I like it because I don't have to break going into the turn. I also like Monmouth Park. It's laid out well. The worst track? Honestly, I can't say. I like to ride and I have no fault to find with any track."

HEDLEY WOODHOUSE, Miami Springs, Fla.
"Hialeah used to be the best. But they've been planting soy bean crops on the track and plowing it in. When muddy the track is oily. It doesn't dry out fast. When it packs, big clots hit my face from the hoofs in front. Garden State has the best track. The worst is at Gulfstream."




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