Santa Anita’s one mile main track will reopen for training Monday morning.
Jogs and gallops will be permitted for now, but workouts on the surface are on hold.
Dennis Moore, the track superintendent until his departure at the end of 2018, commented, “Over the past four days, we’ve been able to do a great deal in terms of amending the soil and inspecting it. I think the most important thing with this track right now is that we closely monitor compaction levels. With all the rain, and this is the case in any wet winter, the ‘fines,’ silt and sand, can change very quickly, and that affects the clays as well. Compaction, as well as dilution, of silt and sand, are all factors in the overall composition of the soil.
“More specifically, it’s been very helpful that we have not had any significant rain since this past Wednesday. We’ve been able to harrow, roto-till and aerate the soil throughout each day in order to get a uniform track profile, and that’s helped Mick (Peterson) in his efforts. With all of this, the objective is to get the ideal composition throughout our six inch cushion.”
Peterson has been simulating the force and speed generated by the leading forelimb of a Thoroughbred running at full speed, utilizing what’s called an Orono Biomechanical Surface Tester. According to Santa Anita, in that process data is gathered that quantifies firmness, cushioning, grip and consistency from locations on the surface.
“We’ve reviewed Mick’s research, and it clearly indicates our cushion is right where it needs to be,” said Moore. “We also acknowledge that things can happen even under perfect circumstances, but from everything we’ve been able to learn, this track is in outstanding condition, and it’s ready for training.”
After a few days, officials hope to reinstate workouts on the surface. Pending further testing and analysis of morning training. Santa Anita said in a release it hopes to re-open for racing "in the coming weeks", yet Stronach Group CEO Tim Ritvo told Thoroughbred Daily News racing will resume on March 22.
By Dick Downey