07/21/2011 5:46PM

Santa Anita's renovated surface scheduled to reopen for training on Tuesday


DEL MAR, Calif. - Santa Anita officials hope to complete the renovation of its main track by Sunday and reopen for training by Tuesday, track president George Haines said on Thursday.

On July 11, Santa Anita began a renovation to reduce the clay content and add sand to the surface, which was used for the first time earlier this year for the winter-spring meeting. The renovation project began with the removal of the top six inches of the surface, more than 17,000 tons of material. The material was mixed with sand that had minimal clay content and then put back on the surface.

“We have half the surface back on the track,” Haines said on Thursday. “We expect to complete it within the next two days. Then, we’ll survey the track and grade it to our specifications.

“Hopefully by Tuesday, we can reopen the track if things go according to plan.”

The project was expected to take 10 days, but the job was extended for slightly more than two weeks. In the last week, tests have been conducted on the reformulated composition to ensure the proper mix of sand, clay and silt.

“All our tests are coming back with the designated parameters,” Haines said on Thursday.

The track sought a composition of 87.5 percent sand, 8 percent silt and 4.5 percent clay. Studies conducted at various times during the race meeting earlier this year showed that the sand content ranged from 76.8 to 79.2 percent, silt content was as high as 15.8 and as low as 13.1 percent and that the clay content ranged from 6 to 8.7 percent.

In recent weeks, soil samples were analyzed and tested at an on-site lab administered by Mick Peterson, a noted racetrack specialist from the University of Maine, and by a laboratory in Texas.

Santa Anita will be open for training during the Del Mar meeting. Hollywood Park, which concluded its spring-summer meeting on July 17, will be open until Santa Anita reopens its main track.