December 6, 2021

Track surface work begins at Santa Anita

Last updated: 10/12/10 3:27 PM

The return to a dirt surface at Santa Anita is scheduled to be completed by early December

(Benoit Photo)

Construction to replace Santa Anita’s synthetic main track with a
natural dirt surface began on Monday and it is anticipated work on the
project will continue into early December. Horses are projected to
return to training over the one-mile oval on December 6, roughly three
weeks in advance of Santa Anita’s traditional winter/spring meeting
opener on December 26.

“This marks the beginning of a very important chapter in our history
here at Santa Anita,” Santa Anita President George Haines said “There is
a great deal of anticipation from all corners of the Thoroughbred
industry and we’re very excited to get this project underway and to
return to live racing.”

Santa Anita was required by mandate from the California Horse Racing
Board (CHRB) to install a synthetic main track in the fall of 2007. In
order to remain in compliance with CHRB regulations, Santa Anita
recently petitioned the CHRB to issue a waiver to this mandate.

Haines noted that in order for the waiver to be granted, the top
layer of the new track surface will need to undergo a variety of tests
which will be overseen by the CHRB.

“We are currently working with both the California Thoroughbred
Trainers (CTT) and the CHRB, and together, we’re developing a consensus
with regard to the composition of the various soils that we’ll be
using,” Haines said.

MI Developments (MID), Santa Anita’s parent company, has dispatched
Ted Malloy, who has been involved with the installation of several
tracks around the country and who has been involved in track maintenance
for more than 38 years, to oversee the project.

“We just started to take the synthetic material off today,” Malloy
said on Monday. “We’ve had skip loaders out on the track, piling it up
and we’ll start hauling it off tomorrow. We anticipate it’ll take about
two weeks to remove all of the synthetic material.

“We hope to clear the rocks underneath, which are part of the
drainage system, the following week (of October 24).”

Malloy said following the removal of the current drainage system,
work will begin on installing an organic base.

“After the rocks are completely removed, the new base material will
be applied and we anticipate that will take about two weeks (October 31
through November 13). After the base is in place and compacted to proper
density, we’ll start to apply the cushion mix, which is what we run on.”

Malloy noted that the cushion will be mixed by Vulcan Materials in
nearby Irwindale, California.

“The soils will be coming from several different places and Vulcan
will make the cushion mix out of a conglomeration of several types of
sands and clay, to our specifications. After the cushion is in place, we
will harrow and water it until the material is stabilized and this
should take at least one week.”