Benoit Photo

Santa Anita to Replace Dirt Track in July

Major renovation to begin July 11; track to close for training through end of August.

Santa Anita Park has announced that it's one mile main track will undergo a major renovation beginning July 11 following conclusion of the Southern California facility's first spring stand.

The renovation will result in the track transitioning to a single-source material consisting of highly coveted El Segundo Sand, a natural soil that will ensure balanced drainage during periods of wet weather and a uniform, safe cushion year round.

"Beginning July 11, we're going to take out the existing surface and go down to the base of the track," said Dennis Moore, Santa Anita track superintendent. "At that point, we'll survey the existing base and ensure we're meeting all specifications relative to slope and grade.

"We're going to be moving 20,000-plus yards of material and we anticipate this process is going to take about four or five weeks," Moore added. "We're very fortunate to have been able to locate this soil which is currently being excavated due to construction projects over at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport). El Segundo Sand is naturally occurring and we won't have to mix it with any other material, which is best-case. The best surfaces around the country are all made of naturally occurring soils that are indigenous and not made by man."

One of America's most highly respected track superintendents, Moore was hired by Santa Anita following a highly successful run at Hollywood Park, which closed Dec. 22. He also oversees a newly converted one-mile oval at Los Alamitos Racecourse, and has built and maintained track surfaces the world-over for the past 40 years.

The material, which is currently being trucked from LAX and kept in Santa Anita's Infield parking lot adjacent to its hillside turf course, is in the process of being screened. It will be ready for installation upon the removal of the existing main track.

Santa Anita's current meet will conclude June 29. The track will be closed to training from July 10 through the conclusion of the final weekend at Del Mar Aug. 30-31.

Santa Anita's 2014 fall meet opens Sept. 26. It will be highlighted for an unprecedented third consecutive year by the two-day Breeders' Cup World Championships Oct. 31-Nov. 1.