07/02/2007 12:00AM

Santa Anita to start track work


Santa Anita will close its main track on Thursday to begin installation of a Cushion Track synthetic surface.

Existing synthetic tracks at Del Mar and Hollywood Park are scheduled to undergo renovations in the next two weeks, with wax being added to the top layer of both surfaces.

Santa Anita's final day of training on the main track is Wednesday. From Thursday until July 15, training will be restricted to an infield training track. All horses must be removed from the barn area on July 16 so the backstretch can undergo a pest control eradication and main-track renovation can begin in earnest, according to track president Ron Charles.

Santa Anita is scheduled to have Cushion Track installed by early September. "We want to get the excavation started and we want to be digging into the ground" on Friday, Charles said over the weekend.

Hollywood Park will add a layer of wax to its Cushion Track surface next Monday or the Monday after, July 16. The track has yet to decide on a start date for the project, pending further input from trainers, track president Jack Liebau said. Liebau said he would prefer to wait until after the spring-summer meeting ends on July 15 before starting the rewaxing process. He said it was unclear how long the process would take.

The track announced in mid-June that it would add wax to the track after studies showed a breakdown of wax in the top layer of the racetrack.

Liebau said 200,000 pounds of wax will be added to the surface. Hollywood Park will remain open for training this summer.

Del Mar has postponed the opening of its new Polytrack surface for training until July 12, according to director of racing Tom Robbins. Previously, the track said training would begin on the surface July 11.

Del Mar will begin adding wax to its surface no later than July 9, Robbins said. Robbins said in mid-June that Del Mar would add an additional coat of wax to the synthetic surface. Robbins said the re-waxing project cannot start until equipment related to the ongoing San Diego County Fair is removed from the infield.

"It's a bit of a moving target," Robbins said. "We're going to try to start on the evening of the 8th."

Installation of the track was completed in April, but the track has not been used for training since then because of other events conducted on racetrack grounds.

The track's meeting opens on

July 18.