09/08/2016 2:06PM

Training track reopens to good reviews


ELMONT, N.Y. – After being shut down for 52 days, the Belmont Park training track reopened Thursday to positive reviews.

The track was closed for the summer so it could be widened to accommodate more horses. The stretches were widened by about 17 feet. The far turn was widened by 18 feet, and the first turn was widened by about 13 feet. The project was overseen by Glen Kozak, the New York Racing Association’s vice president of facilities and racing surfaces.

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Trainer David Jacobson was pleased enough with the surface to work eight horses over it Thursday, including Baccelo, who blew out three furlongs in 37 seconds in preparation for Saturday’s $100,000 Seattle Slew Stakes.

“The track appears to be state of the art, and for the first day training here, I’m very impressed,” Jacobson said. “Glen Kozak did an amazing job getting it done and getting it done in the time that he had to do it.”

Kelvin Pahal, an exercise rider for trainer Jimmy Jerkens, had praise for the surface after working the horse Securitiz three furlongs in company with Adulator.

“Feels good for the horse, more cushion, nice,” Pahal said.

Kozak said the training track has a tiny bit more clay in it, but it is basically the same sand-based surface that was in before the renovation.

A newly built clocker stand was operational Thursday but not quite finished. The stand is significantly larger than the previous one, though it is constructed several feet past the finish line.