M.I.T. Analysis

Dr. George W. Pratt has analyzed Beyer Mechanical Properties of racetrack surfaces for 25 years, and has measured over 30 tracks in the U.S. & Canada (as well as tracks in England and France) with the objective of measuring the interaction between the horse and the track surface. He measures the safety of the track and how it impacts the welfare of horses.

Dr. Pratt has been sponsored by the Morris Animal Foundation, and is currently sponsored by the Jockey Club and the Grayson Foundation.

Dr. Pratt's publication "Model for Injury to the Foreleg of the thoroughbred Racehorse" Equine Veterinary Journal 1977, was presented at the International Symposium on Biomechanics in Saumur, France.

Other publications include:
  • Pratt, G.W., Jr. "Racing Surfaces - a Survival of Mechanical Behavior" Proc 30th Annual Meeting of American Association of Equine Practitioners, 1984
  • Pratt. G.W., Jr. "Analyzing track characteristics" The Thoroughbred Record, 1980
  • Pratt, G.W., Jr. and O'Connor, J.T. A Relationship Between Gait and Breakdown in the Horse, 1978

Dr. Pratt's Report on the Tapeta™ Surface

  • Fantastic. It is like running on a living room rug.
  • Typical stiffness of a dirt track is 100,000 lbs per foot--Tapeta ™ was 25,000 lbs. per foot.
  • Tapeta ™ does not compact like a dirt track.
  • Ten successive drops on the same sample did not substantially alter its quality:
    • 1st Drop: 18,000 lbs at peak force
    • 3rd Drop: 25,000 lbs
    • 10th Drop: 25,000 lbs
  • Water does not make any difference at all; the matrial does not hold water.
    • Normal conditions = 450 to 650 lbs
    • Wet conditions = 352 to 675 lbs
  • The rise of impact: Dirt track = .005 seconds; Tapeta ™ = .010 seconds. This measurs how quickly the animal feels the shock. The material spreads out that shock. The typical contact time (impact duration time) is:
    • Dirt = .0070 seconds
    • Tapeta ™ = .0177 seconds
    This is a big deal.

  • The severity index or the G.A.D.D. Severity Index (numerial measurement of impact):
    • Dirt = 166
    • Tapeta ™ = 88
  • Horses working on the Tapeta™ surface will experience one-half the impact as compared to horses working on a conventional surface.