The California Horse Racing Board has arranged for Dr. Michael “Mick” Peterson, a well-known professor of engineering at the University of Maine, to inspect the main track at Santa Anita Park this coming week.
The CHRB said it was undertaking the study in accordance with its responsibility to inspect and evaluate racetracks for safeness.
CHRB executive director Kirk Breed will join Peterson at Santa Anita Aug. 10 to begin the review. Peterson already is under contract with the CHRB to train its project engineers for an ongoing track safety standards program. That contact has been amended to include an independent evaluation of the Santa Anita track surface.
Well known within the racing industry, Peterson is widely considered to be the foremost authority on track surfaces, particularly synthetic surfaces such as the one at Santa Anita. He has developed test protocols that have been used at more than 30 Thoroughbred racing venues.
The CHRB has been monitoring developments at Santa Anita during attempted repairs of a drainage problem in certain areas of the track, as have representatives of the Thoroughbred Owners of California and California Thoroughbred Trainers. Horsemen met with track management Aug. 6 to discuss concerns with the effectiveness of the renovation, which began July 26, and the track's safety.
The CHRB will invite the CTT, TOC, and Santa Anita officials to go over the findings from this review. A full report will be provided to the public.