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Dec 17, 2010

Brand new main track put to use at Santa Anita


Arcadia, CA (Sports Network) - Santa Anita Park's new dirt track went through a second day of usage on Tuesday as trainers sent out their horses for workouts. The natural dirt surface replaces the artificial track that Santa Anita installed in 2007.

"We're very happy with how the project went and with how the horses seemed to handle the surface the past two mornings," said Project Manager Ted Malloy. "I'm really happy with the mixture of the soil we have in place and I think the horsemen are as well.

"I think every facet of the project went according to plan and the result is we've got a good, kind, consistent surface that horses are going to be able to get a hold of and run well on. We'll keep a close eye on everything and if the past two mornings are any indication, we're in very good shape."

Santa Anita opens for racing on Sunday, December 26. The 76 day winter/spring meet, which features the Santa Anita Derby and Handicap, will conclude on Sunday, April 17.

The track re-opened for training Monday morning and showed no ill-effects from three-quarters of an inch of rain that fell overnight Sunday and into Monday morning.

"We put the (orange) cones up because we had a couple areas where some water had eroded some material in the gaps to the turf course," said Malloy. "It was an easy fix and we had the entire racetrack opened up for everyone this (Tuesday) morning."

Among the trainers who sent out horses on Monday and Tuesday was Jim Cassidy who had a positive reaction to the new dirt track.

"We've had about 60 out the last two mornings," said Cassidy. "The track's fabulous. It's very tight, soft and kind. They seem to glide over it. They say it's really like a glide. It's real spongy with no issues whatsoever and it's got a fair amount of kickback. I think right now, everyone is just taking their time and getting a feel for the new surface."

Santa Anita officially opened the new all-natural dirt main track on Monday morning at 4:30 a.m. (pt).

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