Hollywood Cushion Track to Close for Fix

Hoping to revitalize its Cushion Track racing surface following the 60-day spring/summer meet that concludes July 13, Hollywood Park plans to close its main track to training in the next few weeks for a short maintenance break.

About 20 tons of fiber and rubber  will be added to the mixture during the "refurbishing," which is expected to take two or three days, track president Jack Liebau said July 9.

The upcoming maintenance procedure will be the third for the 1 1/8-mile track since the synthetic surface was installed in August 2006.

The Cushion Track surface consists of wax, fiber, rubber and silica sand. The additional material is to be shipped by boat container from the manufacturer's plant in England.

"I think we all realize now that synthetic tracks wear out," Liebau said, noting that the track has also been re-waxed twice previously. It was most recently re-waxed in April, prior to the beginning of the current stand.

"I do not believe the track is in as good of shape as it was when we installed it in 2006," Liebau said. "Hopefully, this will get it back to where it was."

Trainers have complained in recent weeks of an increase in injuries, according to reports. Ed Halpern, executive director of the California Thoroughbred Trainers, said that with 1,500 to 2,000 horses using the track daily, there is no doubt that the surface is run down.

"Certainly we're having more injuries recently than we have experienced" previously with the installation of the all-weather surface, he added.

"Horsemen are very happy that Hollywood Park is willing to take the steps necessary to get the track back to being as good as it once was," Halpern said. "When (the Cushion Track) was good, it was very good."

He said any brief interruption in training schedules would not be a serious problem.

"It' s something we're used to," Halpern said.

The timing of the track closure depends on when the containers arrive, Liebau said.

Hollywood Park is the main off-site training location this summer for horses not stabled at Del Mar while Santa Anita Park undergoes renovation for its synthetic racing surface. Hollywood's training track is expected to remain open during the maintenance period.

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