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Author Topic: OOPS! Busted!!!  (Read 3707 times)
BeauNarro
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« on: July 28, 2006, 03:24:37 PM »

Well, as I've been saying to anyone who will listen - the track has not officially been cleared of being negligent in their fact finding mission of the track surface. There is now a controversy regarding the "independent" inspections of the track surface as seen below in the link.

http://www.barntowire.com/2006/IRBnotes060728.html
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David
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« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2006, 03:29:13 PM »

To borrow a phrase from Watergate, "what did you know? and when did you know it?" might soon have to be asked at AP big wigs

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edwarren
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« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2006, 04:21:31 PM »

We'll see. Three. That's a hat-trick. Don't be too excited. The board's weighty opinion hints at nothing new.
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Jim C
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« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2006, 01:44:53 AM »

OK after some talks with a few trainers I am reporting a theory that could explain the breakdowns and the lack of any hard findings that the track itself is a problem.

First keep in mind that not one jockey has complained about the surface, not one exercise rider either. These guys are always the first to complain and do so the loudest. But to date...nothing none refuse to ride and none seem to feel there is a problem with the racing surface.

The latest I have heard and the more I think about it...it makes sense. The issue could be the tires on the tractors. They are using tires with very deep treads on them that go deep into the surface. The harrow may cover up most of that depression left by the tires but not ALL of it. Given that the harrow is not going as deep as the tire tread it is very possible that the tires are leaving some spots that are uneven on the track just below the surface. This would explain why the track when inspected has been found to be level and would also explain why the injuries seem to happen more after a rain and the track is drying out. The tires would go deeper and the surface would again cover up the tread mark but not completely cover the track mark, thus leaving a whole or uneven spot on the track.

As far as the idea that there are rotting roots from the removed trees, I have talked to 2 people who are racing fans, one owns a nursery and the other has a landscaping business. Both told me that the trees that were removed were not old enough or big enough to produce roots that would have reached the base of the track let alone be large enough to cause a problem under a limestone base.

To me out of all the ideas that have been tossed out there the tire issue makes the most sense. Look at CD, they use tracks instead of tires and other tracks have gone to a flatter or slick type tire. It would be much less expensive to change the tires on these tractors and see if that helps and it could be done over night.

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sodgod
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« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2006, 05:09:13 AM »

Jim C.
Perhaps you could ask around but I think the majority of the tractors used to groom the track at AP are either rented or leased for the racing season, perhaps some corporate agreement between NTRA, CDI & John Deere I'm really not sure.  They haul them out on a semi after the meet and bring new ones back the next spring.   In any event those tractors are always super clean and looking sharp not like the dirty ones with the bald tires at Hawthorne. I'm sure John Deere could provide them with some less agressive tires as part of their agreement.  I don't understand why the need for those tires any way all of those tractors are 4x4 not like the 4x2 tractors at Haw.

Sod  horse
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David
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« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2006, 05:59:31 AM »

Have the tires changed since last year? If so the tires would have my vote as the most likely cause of the problem
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RunSuckerRun
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« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2006, 06:09:44 AM »

The key to good writing is always using the fewest words that express exactly what you mean. 

To that end: The management of Arlington Park are liars.

http://www.suntimes.com/output/horse/cst-spt-arl29.html

Of note: "In a statement issued Friday, the IRB said it has learned that recommendations for alterations to the racing surface and track-maintenance procedures were made in writing to Arlington management by Gregory Coon, the original consultant retained by the IRB, but were not part of the report he made to the board."

Seems that the independent consultant did make recommendations to change the track but provided them to AP without informing the public (IRB) to make it appear the track was safe.  I'd really like to see everyone that lost a horse at AP sue CDI.

-RSR
« Last Edit: July 29, 2006, 06:26:25 AM by RunSuckerRun » Report to moderator   Logged
mel4600
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« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2006, 08:41:02 AM »

Does anyone know what alterations to the track Mr. Coon recommended? I would want a full detailed explanation why this material information was left out of the written report.
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BeauNarro
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« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2006, 08:46:07 AM »

JimC,

I think that the tire theory is a very plausible assumption. However, why is this just happening this year? Did they suddenly put thinner tires on their tractors for this year?
I would like to see ClockerTerry or another of our digital camera aficionados take some snapshots of the track vehicles at work on the grooming to see what kind of tires they have.
Although I certainly think this could be the problem - what I can't fathom is why the track maintenance superintendant or any of his underlings didn't think that thinner tires could be creating subsurface ruts.
I'm not a track expert, but I am an all around engineer that knows that there are "street" tires and "all terrain" tires. There is a huge difference between the two types, especially when they are both driven over soft surfaces.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2006, 09:01:27 AM by BeauNarro » Report to moderator   Logged
sodgod
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« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2006, 09:10:56 AM »

Beau, Have you had any conversations with Al Joz. about the AP surface and do you know if he has looked at it?  I think Jim C. is talking about the depth of the tread on the tires instead of the overall width.  Many if not most of the tractors at AP have dual rear wheels so I don't think the weight of the machines is rutting the surface.  However, those tall ridges or nubs on the tires might very well be the problem.  I would think the Al would be a good local source of information on this topic.  Thought he had some kind of role with the ITHA?  Do they have a committee that focuses on racing surface issues?

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CLOCKERTERRY
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« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2006, 09:51:10 AM »

I don't have any pictures of last year's tires to compare any new ones to, so the exercise of photographing this year's would be meaningless, IMHO. No baseline comparison to tires of a non-breakdown year. The treads on the tractor tires have always been big. They're tractors.
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CLOCKERTERRY
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« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2006, 10:08:37 AM »


No wonder there's no horses to fill races. 24 horses put down and another 63 retired or laid up. That from a backside that was 200-300 short to begin with.

Question: Why did the paper have Larry Hamel the harness man write the article, instead of J O'D?
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RunSuckerRun
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« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2006, 10:43:36 AM »

The story is at the top of the front page of the hardcopy of the Daily Herald and on-line:

http://www.dailyherald.com/search/searchstory.asp?id=212120

Two paragraphs that were the most interesting:

Coon, of Charles E. Coon & Sons Inc. of Longwood, Fla.,   did not return phone calls seeking comment Friday. A company colleague, Dan Coon, declined comment.

Arlington Park officials refused to answer questions, but put out a statement saying, “We believe that we have done everything possible to make our racetrack as safe as it can be.”


Seems to me that some folks are taking their time to get their lies straight.  If you're telling the truth,  you don't need to wait days to give an answer.  IMO

-RSR
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poor
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« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2006, 11:01:47 AM »

I was thinking about when the fire happened and all the fire trucks were driving on the track through the gate were the horse ambulance comes out from. Those trucks were very heavy and may have distrubed the base? flag
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laurajean
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« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2006, 11:06:56 AM »

JO'D is on vacation
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mel4600
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« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2006, 05:49:25 PM »

The story is at the top of the front page of the hardcopy of the Daily Herald and on-line:

http://www.dailyherald.com/search/searchstory.asp?id=212120

Two paragraphs that were the most interesting:

Coon, of Charles E. Coon & Sons Inc. of Longwood, Fla.,   did not return phone calls seeking comment Friday. A company colleague, Dan Coon, declined comment.

Arlington Park officials refused to answer questions, but put out a statement saying, “We believe that we have done everything possible to make our racetrack as safe as it can be.”


Seems to me that some folks are taking their time to get their lies straight.  If you're telling the truth,  you don't need to wait days to give an answer.  IMO

-RSR
I'm not at all happy about this chain of events. The people running Arlington are a bunch of idiots. When they start to lie it is time to race elsewhere. Everyone should refuse to enter any horses until they come clean.
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CLOCKERTERRY
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« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2006, 05:58:31 PM »

I'm not at all happy about this chain of events. The people running Arlington are a bunch of idiots. When they start to lie it is time to race elsewhere. Everyone should refuse to enter any horses until they come clean.

Both stories make it sound like Arlington officials "got to" the independent consultant Coon.

Everyone was complaining about lack of newspaper coverage. Well, we got it now!
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Jim C
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« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2006, 01:42:22 AM »

 AP has already given the letter that was sent to them from Coon. If you recall he was hired to see if the track was safe and level. Those were the questions that he answered to the IRB about. According to AP and the Tribune the only things he "suggested" (which he did after being asked by the Col. to do so, was IF he had any maintenance pointers to give to the track super) were about surface mixtures and grading procedures. As I said in another post the one suggestion that was of interest to me was to replace the harrows they have now (that have wheels) with harrows with no wheels. This may go along with the suggestion that the tire treads may be the cause or part of the cause on the track problems. That the harrows are not going deep enough.

I just have to smile a bit though when right away everyone assumes that the "independent" contractor was "gotten to" by AP. As if this guy whose entire business is based on his reputation and honesty is going to sell out to help AP. What would be the up side for him to do so and risk his future? The same goes for King who I'm sure knew that someone else would be brought in to look at the track since he was hired by AP. So why would he gloss over things if he had found a problem knowing that someone else would find that problem when they checked the track and thus ruin his reputation?

I would still like to know how many horses broke down at AP in 2004?
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David
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« Reply #18 on: July 30, 2006, 04:22:15 AM »

Jim C., so the tire theory of yours didn't come from some trainers like you first mentioned, it was part of the 2nd report by this Coon guy, and it seems like you knew about it before the IRB who hired the guy - you don't see a problem with that? How does anybody know what else Coon said or suggested at this point?
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mel4600
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« Reply #19 on: July 30, 2006, 05:20:48 AM »

"I just have to smile a bit though when right away everyone assumes that the "independent" contractor was "gotten to" by AP. As if this guy whose entire business is based on his reputation and honesty is going to sell out to help AP. What would be the up side for him to do so and risk his future?"


Jim C,

If the above statement is accurate, then why was everyone so evasive when asked the simple question as to what was recommended. If I remember correctly when track officials were asked by a reporter, they evaded the question and said their track was deemed safe. If they merely asked for additional recommendation as to basic track maintenance, why hide the fact and become evasive?
« Last Edit: July 30, 2006, 05:23:53 AM by mel4600 » Report to moderator   Logged
Ed
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« Reply #20 on: July 30, 2006, 05:36:28 AM »

According to AP and the Tribune the only things he "suggested" (which he did after being asked by the Col. to do so, was IF he had any maintenance pointers to give to the track super) were about surface mixtures and grading procedures.

How can you continue to defend AP and RLD. If only "maintenance pointers" were suggested, why the cover up? Why take days to come clean admit there was more to the report? Why not provide this info in the IRB report? Best case,once again, AP management comes off looking very bad. Not good for an entity looking for a government bail out. Maybe the casinos are responsible?

Ed
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photofinish
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« Reply #21 on: July 30, 2006, 09:06:47 PM »

Jim C said " I would still like to know how many horses brokedown in 2004?".

      I read it was 23 for the 2004 season at AP.  I ALSO read a quote from an AP or IRB honcho in that same article which stated that "There was no investigation because the media was not involved." So basically, horses can die, vets can complain every year to management about the # of injuries here, and no one at AP gives 2 dead flies about it until the press picks up the story. Wish I could remember which paper had that statement, but y'all are smart, someone here will know which article it was.
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Jim C
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« Reply #22 on: July 30, 2006, 11:53:02 PM »

David, the tire suggestion sure as hell came from a trainer and I mentioned it to another as well who thought it might make sense and I just talked to them this past Friday and that was after the press release was sent out by the IRB. What I said on here was that the other report by Coons which stated they should use a harrow that does not have wheels SEEMED to go along with the idea that MAYBE the tire tracks were not being fully cleared when the harrow went over them. I have no idea if the tires are mentioned in the report.

As far as a cover up....what cover up? The story just came out on Friday and by Saturday AP had already talked to the Tribune and given them the letter that they got on those recommendations. And that was followed up with on Sunday. That hardly rates a cover up to me but if you think otherwise so be it. It sure wasn't "days" before any info was given by AP. And the suggestions were all printed in the Tribune. I would guess that the reason no one offered what the suggestions were is that maybe who they asked didn't know what they were. Who were the officials that were asked? Unless it was the Col or the track super I doubt anyone else could have answered that question. Now to me that is a problem of PR and if someone is going to talk to any press people they should have all the facts before they talk. But who knows what they said. if they said the track was deemed safe...which it was....and that's all then its bad PR but hardly a cover up.

 It just seems like this is all a big smoke screen for other things that are happening in the industry here right now. If there were 23 horses that broke down in 2004 then we are not so far out of the norm as everyone wants us to believe. What were they in 2003? To me any horse death is cause for concern but it seems to me that those involved in this story have more on their minds then just the deaths of some horses. We had more horses then this break down in 2000 when the track reopened and no one said a word in the papers at least not like this. So what has changed since then? What recently has changed that would maybe add fuel to this story?

I again will point to the FACT that not one jockey or exercise rider has complained about the track. Earlie Fires said the track has the best he had seen it in some time! Now these are the guys who are on the track every damn day. Its their lives that are on the line too. Yet no one is complaining about the track. Why is that? These guys are the first to yell if ANYTHING is wrong with any track, yet still no complaints. Maybe DD is paying THEM off too!

I am not defending anyone on here, but I do admit it seems like I am but really I am just trying to bring some logic to the table. I mean do you really think AP or DD is going to pay off a guy to change a report, when as I said before that there would always be a chance that another person would be brought in to check the track and then find something? In fact just the opposite would make more sense...have him find something, then say you fixed it. THAT would make more sense. The reason it was not in the report was because he was not hired to give any maintenance suggestions to anyone. He was asked to do that by the Col. in an effort to help the track super with the track surface and that should have been done, if you have an expert to give some advise I would hope they would make use of that expert and ask for suggestions. Remember, he was hired by the IRB to check the track and see if it was safe and if there were any problems with the track and its condition and that is what he reported on.

I will also tell you right now there is not one person on any of the tracks payroll that doesn't care or worry about horses breaking down. Once again there is no logic or common sense to thinking that they would NOT care about horses dying on their tracks. What is the upside of not caring? We are already and have been short of horses. Hell even Calder is down to 3 days a week now. Keep in mind there was already an investigation going on BEFORE the media was involved this summer and that found nothing as well. So now if this third person comes in and finds nothing will you believe that guy or not?

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Ed
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« Reply #23 on: July 31, 2006, 06:11:53 AM »

As far as a cover up....what cover up? The story just came out on Friday and by Saturday AP had already talked to the Tribune and given them the letter that they got on those recommendations. And that was followed up with on Sunday. That hardly rates a cover up to me but if you think otherwise so be it. It sure wasn't "days" before any info was given by AP. And the suggestions were all printed in the Tribune.

The Coon report to the IRB was dated July 15th. "The story just came out on Friday" (JULY 28th), almost TWO weeks later. I'm assuming tht the maintenance tips were given to AP at the same time as the IRB report. Why did AP wait until the media discovered that additional info was provided to say antything. I consider that a cover up. Especially, since they knew they were under the microscope on the breakdown issue.
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RunSuckerRun
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« Reply #24 on: July 31, 2006, 07:23:23 AM »

JimC wrote: 
Quote
David, the tire suggestion sure as hell came from a trainer

I think the implication is that the trainer got the idea from the report, not on his own.

Quote
As far as a cover up....what cover up? 

I would consider the fact that AP said the track was perfect but then planned to implement four new procedures that were recommended but not in the report a cover up.  I don't want to slice and dice words here.  I think we can agree that AP could have broadcast all information regardless of whether or not it was in the report.  It would only have helped the situation.

Quote
If there were 23 horses that broke down in 2004 then we are not so far out of the norm as everyone wants us to believe.

One datapoint does not make a norm.

I think 23 horses breaking down on track is too many and if that turns into the norm it shouldn't be considered acceptable.  Regardless of how many happened in 2004, 2003 or whenever, what's happening now is not good.

Quote
I will also tell you right now there is not one person on any of the tracks payroll that doesn't care or worry about horses breaking down.

Caring and being competent are two different things.  Grin

-RSR
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Jim C
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« Reply #25 on: July 31, 2006, 11:47:30 AM »

This trainer did not get this from the report. First he has his own training track and had talked to other trainers about this idea too well before any report was done. He had also talked to a trainer who grew up on a farm to confirm the point that the tires they have on the tractors do not need to have such deep treads since they are 4x4. Plus the report seems to only address the wheels on the harrows and not the tractors or the tires.

As far as AP not saying anything about the suggestions to help the track super with the upkeep of the track, I would think that there was no reason to say anything in their minds as they were just suggestions that THEY asked about. To me this is a mistake as I would have wanted to make as much as possible any changes or improvements that were being made to help fix and situation that involved the track surface. Thats good PR, instead they took a positive and turned it to a huge negative....again very stupid management of information by AP. But it still does not mean that anything was being covered up....a cover up would have been if there were suggestions made that were NOT used and buried as far as the safety of the track. This is a screw up, not a cover up. AP said the track was safe and no issues were found with the track or the base. Changing maintenance procedures is a different issue, but again you are right they should have made a big deal out of these changes as an ongoing effort to make things better.

The only reason I asked about how many horses broke down in 2004 and Id like to know about 2003 as well, is that 2005 seems to be the out of norm figure. It would make more sense to find out why only 12 broke down last year instead of why so many are breaking down this year. If my memory is correct, the number of horse injuries we are having now is not that out of line from what has taken place in past years with the exception of 2005. That again does not mean there should be no concern, but if the number is not that far out of line then the idea that there is an issue with the track may not be correct, unless you want to say there has ALWAYS been an issue with the safety of the track. Again though you have to ask why the jockeys have had no complaints. I still think the track is just too damn fast.
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Ed
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« Reply #26 on: July 31, 2006, 01:39:07 PM »

This is a screw up, not a cover up. AP said the track was safe and no issues were found with the track or the base. Changing maintenance procedures is a different issue, but again you are right they should have made a big deal out of these changes as an ongoing effort to make things better.

Jim C. are you a lawyer? The issue is that horses are breaking down. In any case, we agree that AP management is doing a terrible PR job that is being magnified by the attention given this matter. Cover up, screw up, whatever.

Ed
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Jim C
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« Reply #27 on: July 31, 2006, 02:36:02 PM »

LOL no I am not a lawyer but you have to view these things through the eyes of a lawyer...maybe thats part of the problem too! But Coon reported on all that he was asked to do by the IRB. The other questions came from AP, the Col to be specific so there was no reason to report any of that to the IRB since they never asked any of those questions in the first place. Big PR issue but not a cover up or anything else UNLESS things that were asked by the IRB were not answered or changed. But that does not seem to be the case. Lets see what this 3rd guy says. Should be interesting.
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mel4600
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« Reply #28 on: July 31, 2006, 03:07:45 PM »

LOL no I am not a lawyer but you have to view these things through the eyes of a lawyer...maybe thats part of the problem too! But Coon reported on all that he was asked to do by the IRB. The other questions came from AP, the Col to be specific so there was no reason to report any of that to the IRB since they never asked any of those questions in the first place. Big PR issue but not a cover up or anything else UNLESS things that were asked by the IRB were not answered or changed. But that does not seem to be the case. Lets see what this 3rd guy says. Should be interesting.
Jim,

If the report came back that the track was in perfect condition why would the Col ask for maintenance recommendations? Better yet why would Coon give them if the the track was so good? If I wrote a report the the track was great, my recommendation would be not to change anything.
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Jim C
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« Reply #29 on: July 31, 2006, 03:30:30 PM »

I think the problem is that we are looking at the question and the answer from Coon differently. I do not recall the word perfect being used by Coon, maybe it was but The question that was raised by the IRB was IS THE TRACK SAFE and LEVEL? This was the question to which Coon said yes it was and that it was very consitant throughout. Now this question and the answer has nothing to do with what the other recommendations were to AP and the track super. It seems to me that the Col was asking for any help that he could offer in regards to track maintenance and pointers that would aid in the upkeep of the track. It seems pretty plain to me anyway that the added comments by Coon had nothing to do with the questions that were raised by the IRB. No one has said that the track maintenance was at issue. However, things can always be improved and thats what I think the Col was asking about...ways to improve the track. That said I still think it was stupid on AP's part not to make that public to show that they were trying every avenue to make the track as good as it can be. Not just safety wise but consitanticy wise as well.
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« Reply #30 on: July 31, 2006, 07:12:47 PM »

Jim C,
Shame on AP management and the IRB as well.  AP should have let the IRB and press know about Coon's list of track maint. suggestions and the IRB should have told Coon not to speak with AP management during the inspection if that is what their original intention was.  However,  I would guess that at a minimum Coon would have needed to speak with Javier Barajas.  Roy Arnold probably not.  As a side note I saw the maint. crew working on the harrows today with some torches, so perhaps the wheels were being cut off. At this point we can only hope so.

Sod  carrot
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