08/05/2014 12:01PM

Barajas new Keeneland track superintendent

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Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., has hired Javier Barajas to be in charge of the maintenance of its three racing surfaces. Barajas is the former track superintendent at the Dubai Racing Club and at Arlington Park in Illinois.

In a statement, Keeneland cited Barajas’s experience in maintaining dirt, turf, and artificial surfaces. Keeneland is currently replacing its artificial main track with a dirt surface, but it will maintain an artificial surface at its separate training track. The track also has a one-mile turf course that is often used heavily during Keeneland’s two three-week meets.“Javier is internationally respected in his field, and he shares Keeneland’s commitment to providing the safest surface possible for our horses and riders,” said Keeneland’s vice president of racing, Rogers Beasley. “His vast experience with dirt, turf and synthetic surfaces will be a key asset to caring for Keeneland’s various racing and training tracks.”

Barajas is expected to work with Fred Mitchell, who has overseen track maintenance at Keeneland since the 2010 retirement of track super Mike Young, according to a Keeneland official.

Barajas, 51, joined track maintenance crews at Arlington Park in 1976, according to Keeneland. He was elevated to head superintendent at the track in 1996 and oversaw its installation of an artificial track for the 2007 meet. In 2009, he was hired by the Dubai Racing Club as track superintendent at Meydan, the vast racing and entertainment complex that has been host of the Dubai World Cup since its opening in 2010. Meydan is replacing its artificial main track with a dirt track for the 2015 meet.

Barajas is also the track superintendent at Canterbury Park, and will continue in that capacity until that track’s meet closes in September, Keeneland said.