08/06/2014 2:02PM

Turf course undergoes most extensive aeration yet

Benoit & Associates
Enterprising, the winner of the Oceanside Stakes, is among a projected field of five starters for the La Jolla Handicap when racing returns to the turf Saturday at Del Mar.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Del Mar’s beleaguered turf course underwent its most extensive aeration of the season and was watered to the equivalent of a quarter-inch of rain Tuesday in an effort to alleviate the firm conditions that have plagued the course since the July 17 start of the meeting.

The turf course is scheduled to be used for three races Saturday after a break of nine days between grass races. Four horses were euthanized as a result of injuries suffered on the course July 17-26, and another was seriously injured in a race July 31, leading to the temporary cancelation of turf races.

No grass races were held for a period of six racing days – Aug. 1-3 and Wednesday through Friday this week.

Turf course superintendent Leif Dickinson said the aeration conducted Tuesday “was a little bit more extensive” than an aeration procedure conducted the preceding week. Dickinson said the course underwent a Verti-Drain procedure designed to loosen the soil by plunging tines into the surface.

“It pitchforks into the ground and fractures the soil,” he said.

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Starting after dusk Tuesday and until dawn Wednesday, the course was watered at a rate equivalent to a quarter-inch to one-third of an inch of rain, Dickinson said.

The course could be extensively watered again before turf racing resumes Saturday, he said.

“What I did is what I usually do on Sunday nights, which is two days prior to a normal racing day,” Dickinson said. “This time, we put it off until Tuesday. We’ll check to see if we need to do it again tonight. We have to do what we think is right to set it up for racing.”

The top race Saturday is the $150,000 La Jolla Handicap for 3-year-olds over 1 1/16 miles on turf. The race has a projected field of five, including Enterprising and Argyle Cut, the first two finishers July 17 in the Oceanside Stakes, as well as Sammy Mandeville, Schoolofhardrocks, and Tonito M.

When turf racing does resume, the course will be used for an average of two races per day through the Sept. 3 end of the meeting. No turf sprints will be held, and claimers can only run through optional-claiming races, according to Tom Robbins, director of racing.

Terry More than 1 year ago
So, what do the Breeders Cup execs have to say about this? All it will take is one fatality on Breeders Cup day and goodbye Del Mar for any future consideration. Santa Anita has the best turf course in the country and should be a permanent site for the Breeders Cup. I love Del Mar. I grew up there but it's a summer venue and a fun environment for that reason. The Del Mar sod needs time to root properly. One year isn't enough.
. More than 1 year ago
every time this Joe Harper guy touches the track it goes bad.
Edward Nelson More than 1 year ago
They better beef up those purses on the turf if they want to fill the entry boxes....I can see many owners skipping turf races for this meet now and running on the poly track instead.
Bill More than 1 year ago
If Lief or Joe Harper were concerned about the welfare of the horse colony they would have requested the drug test results of the horses that collapsed or broke down and question the attending vets as to what drugs were administered pre-race. Several of the 11 horses that died or broke down at Del Mar were labeled collapsed. I believe that other deaths that were labeled breakdowns really collapsed. Drugs are a cause of a runner legs folding. If it takes ten months for drug test results from Del Mar's current and future dead or mangled thoroughbred racers and its found that the same drug was administered to all.
BONUS More than 1 year ago
Idk but my friends horse was under a new trainers care he was dancing pre race never was he like that before ! He ran him dry in the Eddie Logan and thought he held his own quite well!!!
BONUS More than 1 year ago
These guys aren't horseman they're vet pets!!
Vince Lentini More than 1 year ago
racehorses have been breaking down for 100 plus years...
David Morant More than 1 year ago
The issue is there are seams between the patches of grass and the turf is uneven in many places. This watering and aerating isn't the answer ... letting everything properly grow in is ... They should shut down the turf course for a few months and allow that to happen ... that is ... if they REALLY care about the welfare of the horses.
BONUS More than 1 year ago
Greg Norman keeping it sub par well into retirement way to go shark your turf course is eating them up (/\/\/\)
BONUS More than 1 year ago
Someone should take legal action in this and quit being scared of these guys!!!
Louis Shoneff More than 1 year ago
stew·ard·ship-the office, duties, and obligations of a steward 2 :  the conducting, supervising, or managing of something;especially :  the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care......Calling Kim Sawyer, Scott Chaney, Luis Juaregui!...What exactly are you 3 carefully and responsibly managing?? Your rear end or the safety of your product?
BONUS More than 1 year ago
I don't know but the SHArk is five over on the front side !! And he was always terrible on the back!!!
BONUS More than 1 year ago
They call Churchill the Burial grounds!! Why not call delmar a turf course the DeAd heat!!! Sorry jimmy :(
BONUS More than 1 year ago
They should cancel the turf for good !! Keep watering it!!! Give the kids some skim boards and let them surf on it !!!!!
BONUS More than 1 year ago
mi Rey, mr napper Tandy , bandolim , burns, yougottadowhatugotado, yes she's unusual, bonus pack!! The list goes on and on and on!!
BONUS More than 1 year ago
Delmar = DEAD HEAT! On the turf!!!