01/19/2011 4:39PM

Trainers cautious on Santa Anita main track after project to add sand

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Tom Keyser
A Z Warrior, winner of the Grade 1 Frizette Stakes at Belmont Park in October, worked a half-mile in 47.60 seconds on Wednesday at Santa Anita.

There were only 52 recorded works on the main track Wednesday, a day after track maintenance crews completed a multi-day project to add sand to the surface.

Many trainers said they were taking a cautious approach to training Wednesday but planned more extensive works later this week. By comparison, there were 134 recorded works on Wednesday, Jan. 12.

Several trainers said the surface had responded well to the additional sand.

“I’ve asked a few of my riders, and they said it felt fine,” trainer Jack Carava said.

Trainer Richard Mandella had one worker, One Nation, who worked five furlongs in 1:00.60.

“If anything, it’s better,” he said of the surface. “I think they did the right thing.”

Track officials said sand was added to replace material lost during severe rainstorms in late December and early January when 15 inches of rain fell. The additional sand was expected to add a quarter-inch of depth to the surface.

Sand was added after the races last weekend and again after training Tuesday, when the surface was roto-tilled to mix the upper layer and avoid compaction.

A Z Warrior, Evening Jewel work

There were two notable workouts Wednesday. A Z Warrior, winner of the Grade 1 Frizette Stakes at Belmont Park in October, worked a half-mile in 47.60 seconds, the fastest of 19 recorded works at that distance. Evening Jewel, winner of two Grade 1 stakes last year, worked six furlongs in 1:12.80. Evening Jewel is being pointed to the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff over 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 29, trainer Jim Cassidy said.

Cassidy said that Evening Jewel handled the track Wednesday.

“It doesn’t seem any different,” Cassidy said of the surface.