08/10/2014 7:38PM

Installation of new main track surface complete


Santa Anita has completed the installation of a new racing surface that will be used for the first time during the autumn meeting that features the Breeders’ Cup races Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. The track’s autumn meeting begins Sept. 26.

Track superintendent Dennis Moore said Sunday he plans to spend the next few weeks blending and grading the material installed in late July and early August.

“It went fairly smoothly,” Moore said of the installation. “We’ll do a lot of watering and working the material, getting it blended and mixed.”

The installation began after the barn area was closed in mid-July, coinciding with the start of the Del Mar summer meeting. A locally based soil, known as El Segundo sand, was used for the new surface.

During the installation, the material previously used for racing was removed to the base, allowing the course to be surveyed for sloping and grading. Moore said that 20,000 yards of new material was installed.

The racetrack is expected to reopen for training on Labor Day weekend. Del Mar closes Sept. 3.

Earlier this year, Moore said the El Segundo sand is similar to what was used at Santa Anita in the 1970s and at Hollywood Park in the early 1980s. Recent construction projects at Los Angeles International Airport have allowed excavation of the material, which is where El Segundo is located.

The previous clay and sand track was installed in late 2010, replacing a troubled synthetic surface.

The El Segundo sand surface is similar to what Del Mar is scheduled to install in early 2015 to replace its existing Polytrack surface.