06/01/2014 2:10PM

Del Mar will install dirt surface similar to Santa Anita

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Del Mar will install a dirt surface in 2015 with material similar to what will be in place at Santa Anita this fall, according to Tom Robbins, the track’s director of racing.

The material is known as El Segundo sand, a locally based soil named for the portion of Southern California from which it is sourced. Santa Anita is collecting the same material and preparing for it installation on its main track in July. The material for the Santa Anita track is being stored in a parking lot on track property.

“We are purchasing the material out of the same source,” Robbins said. “It’s essentially the same material.”

Robbins said that Del Mar will store the material in Oceanside, north of Del Mar, where it will be prepared for installation following the conclusion of the track’s autumn meeting in November. Del Mar has a Polytrack synthetic surface.

Del Mar must seek final approval from the 22nd Agricultural District, which owns the Del Mar racetrack property, and the California Coastal Commission before launching the conversion, Robbins said.

Track superintendent Dennis Moore is overseeing the Santa Anita surface. Richard Tedesco will oversee the transformation of the Del Mar surface.

“We’re moving in the right direction,” Robbins said. “It’s encouraging that we have two trackmen working with other and using the same material.”

Meydan Rocks 4 months ago
It's true.... Meydan Racecourse to Replace Synthetic Surface with a Traditional Dirt Track America matters to them........Hooray!!!
grayposse 4 months ago
I bet Woodbine will be the only track in North America when all is said and done using the polytrack.
jason 4 months ago
The track surface??? I tend to agree with Rob Henie who writes the ECHR and WCHR, he's maintained for many years that the surface was not the issue, and that the biggest culprit was the over usage of STEROIDS. Jacked up runners, dilated eyes, aggressive behavior, and muscle mass not intended to sit above the brittle bones of a thoroughbred. Rather than address that issue, it must be the surface! California jumped into synthetics without any research or understanding, truly the beginning of the decline of racing in the state.
Walter 4 months ago
CA Racing Commissioner Shapiro took a big payoff to mandate artificial racing surfaces in CA. This lied to the demise of Bay Meadows which didn't want to pay 10million to change their track. It also led to the multiple failures in the SA surface when the all weather wouldn't drain. Then Dmr, is there any place in the US that needed an AWT less than Dmr? It never rains there. All weather may be ok in bad climate areas, but CA wasn't one of them.
Ann 4 months ago
Bay Meadows had already been sold to a development company and had only one season of racing left before demolition was to begin. It would have made no sense to change the surface with such a short lifetime ahead of it, so they got a variance to race that last season with dirt rather than close prematurely. Bay Meadows was doomed before the synthetic mandate was issued.
Christine Carlucci Bocchimuzzo 4 months ago
finally back to real dirt horses are suppose to race on not plastic and rubber now the horseplayer can handicap not guess if the horse can handle the surface thank you guys love Delmar
Vickie Aument 4 months ago
Okay so DelMAr wants to go back to dirt - WHY>>> And for heavens sake why use the same dirt as Santa Anita>??? the climates are NOT comparable and we already know the devasting dirt debacle at DelMar before - DO NOT JUMP DelMar - is th safety of the horses not more important? WAIT - test and see
Jason Hart 4 months ago
Del Mar and Santa Anita are both making a change going to use the same surface next year. It is completely different than the surface Santa Anita uses right now.
Ann 4 months ago
Don't you keep up with this stuff? Del Mar had announced earlier that its Polytrack had deteriorated (possibly sea air?) to the point that a total renewal would be needed. With the other surviving So Cal tracks being dirt already (Santa Anita and Los Alamitos, with its new TBs only meet and expanded track), Del Mar did not want to be the odd-man-out. It's been in the industry news.
David Smith 4 months ago
i think the synthetic is good for winter racing....next 2 breeders cups..keenland and delmar?
Jack Pritchard 4 months ago
Hey Hey, Management, Forget the Dirt, The People over at Quaker Oats have what they call " Insta-Track" Just like Oatmeal is ready in 5 min.just add water. You can SPEED it up to suit your taste, How about an EXTRA fast Track to STOP the Eastern Horses from shipping West, or add less Water and you'll get 6 furlongs in the time of 119... Yes Insta-Track is a Party Favorite, use it to create Pick-6 carryovers, burn the Fav, every-time..Just ADD WATER...
Ann Maree 4 months ago
Even Meydan, where the World Cup is run, is replacing its Tapeta surface with dirt, which will likely lure more U.S. horses back to the annual World Cup events. Saratoga races on dirt, and that surface is supposed to be the safest dirt surface in the U.S. according to recent reports.
Bugsy Anderson 4 months ago
Saratoga still has a higher fatality rate than Woodbine, Keeneland, Presque Isle, Turfway and Golden Gate. All which run cheaper quality horses
Dooner98 4 months ago
Bugsy have you actually ever seen or touched a synthetic race track material. I have and if you tell me your a trainer ,nevermind you're beyond hope. It's foul made of old carpet fibers, recycled tires, and who knows what. Yah i'd loved to have my horse breathing some recycled Cooper tires deep into there lungs. Maybe my horse will learn how to roll? Dirt versus Synthetic 1 extra fatality per 1000 runners and you can blame half of those on the trainer Probably shouldn't have been running. Horses were born to run on grass and until all races go to grass enjoy some sand and dirt.
Walter 4 months ago
So true.
Bugsy Anderson 4 months ago
I will let the jockey colony at those locations that seem to enjoy and relish the stuff know. Ps ive been at Woodbine for years.
Walter 4 months ago
Maybe the breakdowns happen less on synthetics, but major injuries do happen to horses and riders on synthetics, two jocks were paralyzed on APs polytrack. Is the surface to blame there? Also, when horses suffer injuries from synthetics (soft tissue, joint, hips, back), do we really know that they survive those? Or, do they get put down? I don't know the answer, I'm just asking.
Bugsy Anderson 4 months ago
So you are pretending that major injuries dont happen on dirt? Ask the riders at Turf Paradise, or bajerano or 8 belles or jose ezpinoza the truth is the number of injuries are the same with dirt and poly, the nature of the injuries is different
Jackson Jackson 4 months ago
I DON"T CARE ABOUT WHAT KIND OF DIRT DMR WANTS> I JUST WANT TO READ THE ARTICLES I ALREADY PAID FOR drf plus . FIX IT !!! YOU"RE RIPPING ME OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Richard Cadena 4 months ago
These tracks seem to be playing follow the leader. So much for the safety of the horse and jockey. In the long run, most likely the dirt-tracks will experience more breakdowns, which in turn will turn off more people to horse racing, which in turn will close down maybe a few of the dirt tracks. The racing industry seems way behind the curve in anything signifying change or progress.
Dan Frattinger 4 months ago
Poly track isn't saving horses lives. It is causing a much higher rate of sift tissue damage such as tendon tears, etc. It bright on an entirely different type of injuries.
Ken Wiener 4 months ago
It is beyond question at this point that there are more fatalities on dirt than sythetic tracks. Soft tissue damage is not good obviously but it is not fatal.
Bugsy Anderson 4 months ago
Misleading facts. It is causing a rise in DIFFERENT SORTS of injuries. It does not have an increase in over all injuries.
Richard Cadena 4 months ago
Synthetic tracks, as a whole, outperform dirt tracks, with respect to fewer fatalities. There is growing evidence that shows this. As for Del Mar, I would need to see specific data on its poly track. But if you think the concrete pavement-like dirt-track at Santa Anita is safer, more concrete evidence needs to be shown. Otherwise we get into anecdotal or isolated comments that are usually taken out of context and confuse the hard data.
Walter 4 months ago
Breakdowns are terrible, but there are so many more reasons why people lose interest in horse racing. Known cheats are allowed to participate, takeouts get raised all the time, tracks are more interested in their casino interests than racing interests. And the horseplayer suffered through all of this.
Richard Cadena 4 months ago
Agree with your main points. But the synthetic tracks were one of the few ways that the horse racing industry was trying to improve safety for jockey and horse. But it appears at least a few tracks are turning their backs and moving in a different direction, like sheep.
Ann 4 months ago
AW tracks were sold as being 'one man and a tractor' maintenance, a money saving proposition. The reality of AW maintenance turned out to be much different, with dust issues, melting-wax issues, clumping issues, and others. Del Mar's has reached the end of its planned lifetime and needed replacing anyway.
Ann 4 months ago
A well-maintained and harrowed dirt course can be safer than the dirt tracks at many venues right now. It requires work and workers and a dedication to keeping it from getting too hard or uneven, building the banks in the turns back up when the dirt slides towards the rail (gravity, you know) and such-like things. You can't just put it in and harrow it now and again. If track managements go back to dirt, they'd better be willing to spend the money to keep it in good shape. When I started racing, tracks did not compact tracks to keep them from getting muddy. Compaction doesn't go away just by harrowing the surface; those heavy rollers compact the entire column and the whole column doesn't expand again when the top is fluffed up. Repeated compaction means that the base gets more and more unforgiving. I would outlaw it; race in mud or in slop like Citation and Kelso did.