10/27/2011 4:24PM

Saratoga's Mellon turf course widened


The Mellon Turf course at Saratoga is in the process of being widened, which should enable additional horses to run at certain distances, New York Racing Association officials said Thursday.

Widening the course will make an extra lane and probably increase field size by one or two starters, depending on rail placement, Glen Kozak, NYRA’s director of racing surfaces said. Currently, the number of starters is limited to 10 when the rail is out 18 feet, Kozak said.

In the process of widening, the crown of the course was moved from 28 feet off the outside rail to nine feet off the outside rail, Kozak said.

“Around two turns on the Mellon Turf course we lost a lot of racing surface because of where the crown was located,” Kozak said. “There was so much room outside of the crown on both turns, we were able to move the crown and increase the surface area and add another lane.”

By moving the crown, Kozak will be able to place the rail out 9-, 18-, and 27-feet from the hedge. Previously rail placements on the Mellon were 12 and 18 feet.

Kozak said the process of widening the course could be completed by next week.