08/19/2009 11:00PM

Tracks undergoing surface renovations

Email
Benoit & Associates
Misremembered, here winning the Swaps at Hollywood Park last month, will take on older horses in the Pacific Classic on Sept. 6. He will be the only 3-year-old in a field expected to include Einstein, Rail Trip, and Informed.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Synthetic surfaces at Hollywood Park and Santa Anita are undergoing renovations this month.

Santa Anita, which is hosting the Breeders' Cup on Nov. 6-7, will close its main track Monday through Friday of next week to add polymer and binder to the Pro-Ride synthetic surface, track president Ron Charles said on Wednesday.

Charles said that Ian Pearse, the founder of Pro-Ride, is arriving from Australia this weekend to oversee the maintenance. The project is expected to add vibrancy to the surface, Charles said.

"We tested the material and we felt we needed to optimize the track and have it in the best possible condition for Oak Tree and the Breeders' Cup," Charles said.

The Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting begins on Sept. 30 and runs through Nov. 8.

The Pro-Ride surface was installed at Santa Anita last summer when the track was closed for training. This year, Santa Anita is open for training as an alternative to horsemen who are not based at Del Mar. Next week, those horses will be restricted to training on the Santa Anita infield training track.

Santa Anita installed a Cushion Track surface in 2007, but the surface failed to drain sufficiently during the 2007-08 winter-spring meeting, leading to the cancellation of 11 racing days.

Last summer, Santa Anita conducted a project to mix more than 14,500 tons of sand from the main track with Pro-Ride polymer and fiber. The sand was removed from the main track, mixed with the Pro-Ride materials in Santa Anita's parking lot, and then redistributed onto the main track.

Hollywood Park is closed for training this summer and its Cushion Track surface is undergoing a renovation.

Earlier this month, the nine-inch layer of synthetic material was removed, allowing for the cover that separates the top layer from a porous based to be washed extensively. The inside 40 feet was completed in early August. Work continues on the outside of the track, and should be finished by early September at the latest, according to track superintendent Dennis Moore.

Before the material is put back on the main track, it will be extensively mixed, Moore said.

"We will mix the material to where we will have the fresher material mixed back into the top," Moore said in a statement. "It will make quite a bit of difference, add more life to the racetrack."

The track is scheduled to reopen for training on Labor Day weekend.

Misremembered headed to Pacific Classic

Misremembered, the winner of the Grade 2 Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park last month, will make his stakes debut against older horses in the $1 million Pacific Classic on Sept. 6, trainer Bob Baffert said on Thursday.

Baffert had also considered sending Misremembered to the Travers Stakes at Saratoga next Saturday.

Misremembered is likely to be the only 3-year-old in the Pacific Classic field. The last 3-year-old to win the race was Came Home in 2002. Baffert's only win in the Pacific Classic occurred with the 3-year-old General Challenge in 1999.

Misremembered worked six furlongs in 1:13.80 at Del Mar on Thursday.

The Pacific Classic, the richest race of the meeting, is expected to include Awesome Gem, Einstein, Informed, Mast Track, Misremembered, Rail Trip, Song of Navarone, and Tres Borrachos.

Misremembered will not be favored, but Baffert has leading contenders in two other Grade 1 races in early September.

Zensational, the winner of two Grade 1 sprint stakes this summer, is bound for the $300,000 Pat O'Brien Stakes over seven furlongs on Sept. 6. The 3-year-old Zensational worked a half-mile in 46 seconds on Wednesday.

Lookin at Lucky, the winner of the Best Pal Stakes on Aug. 9, worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 on Thursday. He will start in the $300,000 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 7. Baffert will have two starters for that race, including Marcello, the winner of a maiden race here on Aug. 15.

California Flag wins in return

After an eight-month layoff caused by a bone chip in an ankle, California Flag was back doing what he does best on Wednesday, leading throughout a turf sprint.

Sent off favored in the $106,100 Green Flash Handicap, California Flag dueled with Bamaha Breeze for the first three furlongs and held off a late run from Delta Storm to win the five-furlong turf race by a neck.

The final time of 55.22 seconds was the fastest at the meeting for the distance.

California Flag's victory in the five-furlong turf race has led owner Keith Card and trainer Brian Koriner to plan a fall campaign geared toward the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint on Nov. 7.

"It's nice to have him back," Koriner said.

California Flag was 10th in the 2008 BC Turf Sprint. He won the Morvich Handicap at Santa Anita last fall and will prep for the Turf Sprint in the same race on Sept. 30.