Santa Anita's one mile main track, which has been closed to training for the past two days, has been deemed “100 percent ready,” by Dr. Mick Peterson, director of the University of Kentucky's Agricultural Equine Programs. Peterson has been evaluating soil samples from Santa Anita on a monthly basis.
In addition to soil samples and a thorough examination of the track's cushion, pad and base, which was conducted by Peterson and Santa Anita Track Superintendent Andy LaRocco, Peterson employed ground-penetrating radar to ensure uniform consistency throughout the one mile oval.
“The ground penetrating radar verified all of the materials, silt, clay and sand, as well as moisture content, are consistent everywhere on this track,” said Peterson on Wednesday afternoon. “This testing ensures all components, the five-inch cushion, pad and base, are consistent and in good order.
“Andy (LaRocco) has inspected the entire oval and has made sure that by pulling the soil (cushion) off and reapplying it, this surface is in fact one hundred percent consistent and ready for training and racing.”
Peterson was also quick to note that physical soundness is a seven-day-a-week, 24 hour-a-day challenge which involves myriad issues, in addition to a consistent surface.
“All of the testing and research we've done, worldwide, clearly indicates soundness is multi-factorial,” said Peterson. “We must approach this challenge with the knowledge that this is always a process and we need to always strive to get better and that no matter how good the results may be, we must get better.
“If there are issues, they're going to be addressed. The safety of the horses, jockeys and exercise people is our number one priority and always will be.”
Tim Ritvo, chief operating officer of the Stronach Group, also addressed the current situation.
“At the Stronach Group, we consider the safety and security of the athletes, both equine and human, who race at our facilities, to be our top priority,” said Ritvo. “All industry stakeholders, including our company, must be held accountable for the safety and security of the horses and we are committed to doing just that.”
Santa Anita's main track will open for training Thursday at 5 a.m. and will remain open until 10 a.m. The inner training track, which is approximately three quarters of a mile in circumference, will open at 4:45 a.m. and remain open until 10 a.m.
First post time for an eight-race card on Thursday is at 1 p.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com.
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