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Saturday, September 16, 2006

Shoes for Thought: Burns Polyflex Synthetic Glue-on Prototypes Put to the Test at Major Racetracks

The new Burns Polyflex shoe is made of polyurethane with a wire core (Fran Jurga © photo)
Have you seen one of these before? Probably not. You're looking at the prototype of a new glue-on shoe made entirely of polyurethane. What makes it different from most plastic shoes is that these are made with a steel core, so the shoe is somewhere shapeable, and it has a steel toe grab. The shoes are made in molds.

This shoe is the brainchild of Florida-to-New-York farrier Curtis Burns. I ran into him at Keeneland back in April, and then again at Saratoga. The shoes are underneath some very good horses--this is the foot of a top stakes-winning filly.

People talk about the eternal quest for a better mousetrap...for me, the quest is for a better horseshoe. And as long as there are farriers out there, they will never stop trying to come up with a better design and a safer way to keep a horse's feet in perpetual motion.

Curtis deserves a big pat on the back, as does his wife Diane, who does a lot of the molding. I think you'll all be hearing a lot more from them, but for now it is one horse at a time.

Will there be a special shoe design needed for the new Polytrack surfaces being installed at the California tracks and Woodbine in Ontario, among others? I'm sure there is one on a drawing board somewhere right now!

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