Dennis Moore took over the track superintendent role at Del Mar in early 2017, beginning with an overhaul of the dirt surface ahead of the summer meet. According to the San Diego Union Tribune, Moore's efforts, coupled with new protocols for training hours and officials, helped to decreased the number of equine fatalities from the massive 17 of the 2016 summer meet to five (including one heart attack) in 2017.
He oversaw the scraping of the dirt surface down to the base, then the evening out inconsistencies and increasing the banking on the turns. The 3 1/2-inch dirt cushion was added to the top of the base, and Moore has been implementing an overall more scientific approach to the track's maintenance.
“Overall, the response was pretty positive,” Moore said. “I had some guys who weren't happy with the surface, but you could run on goose feathers and somebody's not going to be happy with it.”
Over the course of his career, Moore has prepared surfaces for three Breeders' Cups. One was at Hollywood Park, and the other two were at Santa Anita; between the three championships, only one fatality was recorded. This year's Breeders' Cup at Del Mar will be Moore's fourth.
“To me, every day is as important is Breeders' Cup day,” said Moore. “Anytime you know that somebody's life, an animal's life is on the line, you're always on edge, and you never want to see anything happen.”
Read more at the San Diego Tribune.
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