A horse gallops over the new track surface at Santa Anita Park on Aug 31.

A horse gallops over the new track surface at Santa Anita Park on Aug 31.

Tracy Gantz

Santa Anita Track Reopened

Several horses were out galloping on the renovated Santa Anita track surface Aug. 31.

Horses are back in training, with several galloping, on Santa Anita’s newly reconstituted racing surface Aug. 31. Most of the Southern California horses have not yet returned from Del Mar, so few horses are currently housed at Santa Anita.

Ian Pearse, founder and president of Pro-Ride Racing Australia, stood at Clocker’s Corner watching the gallopers.

"Gary Stevens worked two horses over the track yesterday," said Pearse, who added that Stevens was pleased with the surface.

Pearse has worked on reconstituting the track for the past several weeks, getting it ready for the Oak Tree Racing Association meeting, which opens Sept. 24. The Del Mar meeting is still in its final days, and the bulk of the horses are expected to return in the coming week. Trainer Jerry Fanning has some of his stable already at Santa Anita, and he sent horses over the new surface Aug. 31.

"We just galloped a couple of horses," said Fanning. "But it seemed good and very even."

Pearse plans to monitor the surface over the next week to 10 days to see if it needs any tweaking.

"If need be, we might adjust the depth of the harrows slightly," he explained.

Santa Anita had closed its main track July 11 so that Pearse and his crew could work on the surface. The existing synthetic material was reconstituted with more fibers and Pro-Ride’s polymetric binders. Pearse replaced the Cushion Track asphalt base with a grit layer, which sits on top of drainage rock with a membrane between the two to keep the rock layer in place.