Santa Anita Park in California is one of my all time great destinations.

Great place to see a race.

Good slate of races annually.

So I’m happy to see the owners revert the main track to an all dirt track.

This past week the owners

unveiled its new, all-dirt main track Monday, allowing thoroughbred horses to get used to the natural surface.

It is, after all, about 3 weeks before the start of the tracks winter meet.

The synthetic track didn’t drain properly, and heavy rains would wash away too many races.

“Hopefully, we’ll get past the racetrack controversy and be able to go on with our sport and our business and provide a safe and consistent racetrack to our horsemen,” Santa Anita Park President George Haines said. “I think that’s what most horsemen are used to – the dirt.”

The new racetrack surface cost Santa Anita about $3.5 million, compared to about $25 million officials spent for the former synthetic surface and all the necessary repairs, Haines said.

The new surface is all dirt, including between 10 and 11 percent clay and silt, Malloy said.

Santa Anita officials reluctantly switched from a dirt surface to a synthetic Cushion Track in 2007 because of a mandate from the California Horse Racing Board.

Officials mixed materials from Pro-Ride with the track in 2008 in an attempt to fix the problems, but it did not solve all of them, Haines said.

“We’d lose the track because it didn’t drain,” Haines said. “It was a great track when the weather was good.” But when the weather was bad, he said, “it was very bad.”

Leave a Reply