by Mike Willman/Santa Anita | 03.09.2019 | 5:57pm
Santa Anita’s one mile main track will reopen for limited training Monday morning at 5 a.m. Closed for training and racing since this past Tuesday, training will be restricted to joggers and gallopers on Monday. Three renovation breaks will be taken as regularly scheduled. These breaks will be from 6 a.m. to 6:30 a.m., from 7:15 a.m. to 7:45 a.m., and from 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.
“Over the past four days, we’ve been able to do a great deal in terms of amending the soil and inspecting it,” said California-based trackman Dennis Moore, who has been charged with heading a group of track maintenance personnel that includes third-party experts investigating Santa Anita’s main track. This group also includes representatives of the California Horse Racing Board.
Moore, who has 46 years of experience maintaining tracks in California and around the world, has been conducting extensive visual inspections of the one mile oval, as well as analyzing soil samples and test data generated by Dr. Mick Peterson, a third party consultant who serves as the director of the University of Kentucky’s Agricultural Equine Program and is a professor of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering.
“I think the most important thing with this track right now is that we closely monitor compaction levels,” said Moore. “With all the rain, and this is the case in any wet winter, the ‘fines,’ silt and sand, can change very quickly and that affects the clays as well. Compaction, as well as dilution, of silt and sand, are all factors in the overall composition of the soil.
“More specifically, it’s been very helpful that we have not had any significant rain since this past Wednesday. We’ve been able to harrow, roto-till and aerate the soil throughout each day in order to get a uniform track profile and that’s helped Mick in his efforts. With all of this, the objective is to get the ideal composition throughout our six inch cushion.”
Peterson’s primary focus has been conducting testing that simulates the force and speed generated by the leading forelimb of a Thoroughbred running at full speed. Utilizing what’s called an Orono Biomechanical Surface Tester, Peterson has gathered data that quantifies firmness, cushioning, grip and consistency from locations throughout the one mile surface.
“We’ve reviewed Mick’s research and it clearly indicates our cushion is right where it needs to be,” said Moore. “We also acknowledge that things can happen even under perfect circumstances, but from everything we’ve been able to learn, this track is in outstanding condition and it’s ready for training.”
Santa Anita’s main track is expected to reopen to horses breezing for the purpose of receiving official workout times in the coming days. Pending further testing and analysis of morning training, Santa Anita is expected to reopen for racing in the coming weeks.