06/17/2016 12:36PM

Santa Anita's new turf course work on schedule


Santa Anita’s month-long project to replace its turf course is on schedule for completion by early July, according to track senior vice president Joe Morris.

Replacement of the surface of the hillside portion of the turf course was scheduled to be completed by Friday. The project to replace that part of the course began June 6.

Work on the main oval will begin Monday. The final turf races of the spring-summer meeting will be run Sunday. The meeting continues through July 10.

Maintenance crews are scheduled to replace the turf on the oval portion of the course by early July to allow as much growth as possible before the autumn meeting begins in late September. The autumn meeting includes the Breeders’ Cup races on Nov. 4-5.

The previous turf course drew complaints in the last year for being uneven and producing more divots than normal. The track announced that the surface would be replaced earlier this year.

Morris said on Thursday that three acres of the hillside turf course had been replaced, with the project nearing a finish. Portions of the hillside course were being watered Friday morning.

After Sunday’s races, Morris said removal will begin on the oval portion of the turf course. Replacement sod will be installed beginning June 27.

“It takes about two weeks for the roots to get down in the soil,” he said. “They say in 45 days it will be well rooted. We’re giving it 90 days.”

The replacement of the turf course will lead to a disruption in training schedules. There will be no training on the main track or training track Monday to allow crews to work full time on the surface from 6 a.m., according to a statement released by racing officials.

There will be no training on the main track from June 27-29. During that span, there will be training on the infield training track from 4:30 to 9 a.m.