08/26/2016 10:50AM

Santa Anita's main track, turf course ready for action


DEL MAR, Calif. – Santa Anita refurbished its main track in July and early August in advance of its autumn meeting, track officials told the California Horse Racing Board on Thursday.

The renovation was conducted following the conclusion of the track’s spring-summer meeting on July 10. Santa Anita replaced its turf course in June.

The autumn meeting begins on Sept. 30 and includes the Breeders’ Cup races Nov. 4-5. Santa Anita was granted a license from the racing board for its autumn meeting on Thursday.

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Santa Anita senior vice president Joe Morris said the main track was regraded with the aid of lasers. A sand mixture was added to existing material and blended into the surface.

“We added a couple of inches,” Morris said.

Morris told the racing board that the track sustained 12 inches of rain during the winter and spring, which affected the surface of the main track. The stable area opens next Friday, and horses begin training on the surface Sept. 3.

The turf course was replaced after widespread complaints about the level of wear and tear and the number of divots on the course. The new course, a Bandera-Bermuda grass, was installed on the hillside portion of the turf course in early June and on the main oval later that month.

“The turf course is up to expectations,” Morris said. “We have eight inches of roots. The experts told us to give it 45 days, and we’re giving it 90.”