The Man Behind the ‘Million’ Dollar Turf Course

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The Paulick Report continues its coverage from Arlington Park in Chicago with a focus on the track’s famous turf course, which will attract horses from all over the world this weekend to run in a series of races culminating with the Arlington Million.

A beautifully-maintained turf doesn’t happen by accident – it takes patience and care and constant attention. Gabriel Ruiz has paid attention to nearly every blade of grass on the Arlington turf for more than two decades. He worked for years as a laborer before being promoted to Turf Superintendent in 2009.

We wondered what it takes to maintain such a famous patch of grass and what’s behind all the love and care. The Paulick Report’s Scott Jagow and Natalie Voss get their feet “green” to find out.

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  • harry

    California has the greatest weather in the USA by far and look atr there grass courses they are a total joke look at Del Mar been running a month and dust comes up going into the first turn!!!!! Congrats to Arlington for having a great caring guy like this!!!!!!!! Maybe you could get a big pay raise from Santa anita to do theres and they could attract horses from everywhere also no just for the Breeders cup!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GREAT JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • John A

      I agree with harry on Del Mar turf course is terrible i live near Tampa Bay Downs
      and i think that we have a very nice course it isis run on for six months and it does not
      get run down and dusty like Del Mar,the weather is much hotter in the summer and drier in the winter also their looking to extend their season maybe on the poly but not on the turf.
      I believe that we have a very nice course maybe not as good as Arlington i believe they try to keep it up, we also get very good horses and trainers from Gulfstream to run here in the winter example Gio Ponti & Zagora turf Champions back to back years.

  • betterthannothing

    Gabriel Ruiz said that European horses prefer a turf course “in good condition” and American horses prefer firm turf. I believe that all horses prefer a track in good condition although some have an edge over the competition on firmer or softer turf. Speed oriented American racing people and bettors are the ones who like and get firm tracks.

    • http://deafequinefanatic.blogspot.com/ Heidi Carpenter

      Exercise physiology dictates that a being (horse or human) performs best over the same surface regularly trained on. As Euros train regularly over soft turf and Americans train over firm turf, it makes sense that the horses would have “preferences”.

  • Greg G

    Arlington is nice. But, Tampa takes the cake. Best course in the USA. Track super Tom McLaughlin maintains the turf and dirt course to pristine levels.

  • Paul Bialk

    Funny watching the video after the race. Most of the participants in the Million were complaining saying the ground was too hard or to firm after the running of the race.

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