In an exact replication of last year's regularly scheduled maintenance, Santa Anita Park's highly acclaimed turf course has been completely renovated and will be race-ready for the track's Autumn Meet opener on Friday, Sept. 28.
With the introduction of approximately four acres of brand new Bandera-Bermuda Turf which was installed with an emphasis on the most heavily used parts of the course ranging from the track's hillside turf course through the stretch and midway into the Club House turn, fans and horsemen will be treated to a pristine surface ready for usage on opening day.
Santa Anita's 2017-18 Winter/Spring Meeting, which concluded on June 24, featured an abundance of turf racing, which significantly contributed to a more than $75 million increase in overall handle from the previous year.
“Due to the fact the turf course performed so well, we were able to run about 70 mores races over it this year, which was obviously well received by our fans and horsemen,” said Santa Anita Vice President of Racing and Racing Secretary, Rick Hammerle. “About 40 percent of our races are now run on turf. Our customers love it because it tends to attract large, competitive fields and many of our horsemen feel their horses do better on it, enabling them to run more often.”
Santa Anita's turf project began on June 25, immediately following the conclusion of the Winter/Spring Meet and was fully completed by the end of July, with brand new sod in place with plenty of time to fully root while basking in optimal summertime conditions in advance of the upcoming Autumn Meet.
“As we said in June, our Turf Superintendent Jesse Martinez and his crew continue to do a tremendous job in nurturing and maintaining this course,” said Hammerle. “Their dedication and attention to detail is second to none.”
Unveiled on Dec. 26, 1953, Santa Anita's Camino Real Turf Course, which features a hillside component unlike any other in North America, has undergone several makeovers through the years, with the most recent iteration being the installation of the current Bandera-Bermuda course in June, 2016.
Grown from seed approximately 120 miles to the east of Santa Anita in the desert climate of La Quinta, this hybrid Bermuda mixture is very similar to turf currently in use at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena and at Angel Stadium in Anaheim.
In addition to Bandera-Bermuda, the turf course will also be over-seeded with Winter Rye well in advance of Santa Anita's Winter/Spring opener on Dec. 26.
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