06/17/2011 1:38PM

Santa Anita surface renovation beginning

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Santa Anita will conduct a renovation on a portion of its main track beginning this weekend in an effort to reduce the clay content and add sand, the track’s president, George Haines, said.

The project will be conducted in part of the seven-furlong chute not currently used for training. Santa Anita is not currently open for racing, but its main track is used for training. The test plot is in an area measuring approximately 340 feet by 75 feet, or the width of the racetrack along about a sixteenth of a mile.

“We’ll take off a portion of the cushion material and replace it with sand,” Haines said on Thursday. “We’ll start in a couple of days, and we’ll have it done next week. Then we’ll be able to evaluate. We should have it done in just a few days.”

The composition of the Santa Anita surface has been a concern since the material was installed last December after the track removed a synthetic surface that had been plagued by drainage problems for three years.

Last month, the California Horse Racing Board completed a study of the surface, recommending several changes, including taking steps to ensure that the levels of sand, silt, and clay are closer to the original composition proposed last fall. The study revealed that clay content was higher than intended.

One recommended step was the removal off the top two inches of material to be replaced with sand and then blended into the rest of the surface. This Thursday, an update on the status of the main track and turf course is scheduled to be discussed at the California Horse Racing Board’s monthly meeting at Hollywood Park.