Have any of you ever been to the Santa Anita racetrack?

Well, I have.

It has been synthetic… but now it will be converted to dirt, which I think is the right thing to do.

OK, I’m a traditionalist. Give me dirt. Mud. Grass.

Construction to replace Santa Anita’s synthetic main track with a natural dirt surface began recently and it is anticipated work on the project will continue into early December.

Horses are projected to return to training over the one mile oval on Dec. 6, roughly three weeks in advance of Santa Anita’s traditional winter/spring meeting opener on Dec. 26.

“This marks the beginning of a very important chapter in our history here at Santa Anita,” said Santa Anita President George Haines.  “There is a great deal of anticipation from all corners of the Thoroughbred industry and we’re very excited to get this project underway and to return to live racing.”

I’m excited too.

Santa Anita was required by mandate from the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) to install a synthetic main track in the fall of 2007.  In order to remain in compliance with CHRB regulations, Santa Anita recently petitioned the CHRB to issue a waiver to this mandate.

Haines noted that in order for the waiver to be granted, the top layer of the new track surface will need to undergo a variety of tests which will be overseen by the CHRB.

“We are currently working with both the California Thoroughbred Trainers (CTT) and the CHRB, and together, we’re developing a consensus with regard to the composition of the various soils that we’ll be using,” said Haines.

Interesting stuff.

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