11/08/2006 1:00AM

Will Rogers track undergoes renovation


Will Rogers Downs in Claremore, Okla., is rebuilding the base of its one-mile track and resurfacing the oval. The project began Nov. 1 and is scheduled to be complete by Dec. 1, said Kelly Cathey, track operations manager for Will Rogers.

Will Rogers opened for racing for the first time since 2001 this past February. During the meet, some horsemen expressed concerns over inconsistencies in the track surface. Will Rogers officials also found, through test samples, that there was excess clay in the surface material. In response, Dennis Moore, track superintendent at Hollywood Park, was hired as a consultant by Will Rogers.

"He came out the first of October and surveyed our track," said Cathey. "He put a proposal together, what we needed to do to have a safe, great track, and that's what we're working on."

Cathey said crews are rebuilding the base, and 19,000 tons of sand are being stockpiled at Will Rogers for the resurfacing. There is also work being done on the racetrack's drainage system. Will Rogers will open for racing in February. The meet will run through May and feature eight races a day for Thoroughbreds, two for Quarter Horses, and one for Paints and Appaloosas.