Santa Anita Park, which has been closed for training and under major construction since July 5, will unveil its new Cushion Track surface for training on Sept. 4.
Cushion Track, installed at a cost of more than $10 million, is a synthetic racing surface composed of silica sand mixed with synthetic fibers, elastic fiber, and shredded rubber. It’s expected to greatly enhance equine and jockey safety and provide horseplayers with a consistent, all-weather surface that will enhance customer confidence, officials at the Arcadia, Calif., racetrack said.
“This has been a major undertaking, and we are very confident that this new Cushion Track surface is going to satisfy everyone’s needs and expectations,” Santa Anita president Ron Charles said. “The project has gone according to plan, and I think our fans are going to love it. We expect that the surface will be safe, fair, and consistent, day in and day out. This truly is the dawn of a new day in horse racing here in Southern California.”
Santa Anita’s stable area, which has been closed since July 5 because of construction, will reopen Sept. 1. Santa Anita’s sand-based training track will be open for training Sept. 2, officials said.
Because it’s expected Cushion Track will require less maintenance than a conventional dirt surface, there will be just one break for renovation during training hours, at 7:15 a.m. PDT. The main track will open each day for training at 4:45 a.m.
Cushion Track, already in use for racing at Hollywood Park in Southern California, will debut for racing at Santa Anita Sept. 26, opening day of the Oak Tree meet.
Aside from Hollywood Park and Santa Anita, the following North American racetracks have switched to synthetic surfaces: Arlington Park, Del Mar, Keeneland, Turfway Park, and Woodbine have Polytrack; and Golden Gate Fields and Presque Isle Downs have a Tapeta Footings surface.
Presque Isle will begin its inaugural Thoroughbred meet Sept. 1, while Golden Gate will reopen this fall with its new surface.