10/07/2003 11:00PM

Oaklawn track report

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Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., has rebuilt the base of its track in preparation for its upcoming meet that opens Jan. 23. Officials are also laying down new cushion material on the racing surface as part of its annual maintenance procedures. Horses will begin training on the Oaklawn surface on Dec. 1.

A new base, which should ensure a uniform racing surface, requires several thousand tons of material. It was trucked to Oaklawn, then screened and mixed on site. The life of the base of a track can be several seasons to 15 years, depending on the weather, said officials.

"Now that the base has been completely rebuilt, sod is being placed behind the boards that surround the track to retain the racing surface," said Craig Holtz, the director of operations at Oaklawn.

"New racing surface material is being trucked in daily to add to the cushion material that remained from last season."

The track base project began in the summer, and counting the replenishment of cushion, it will call for a total of 24 inches of materials.