Santa Anita Confident in New Dirt Surface

“The surface has been very safe,” said Rick Arthur, DVM, equine medical director for the California Horse Racing Board.
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As Santa Anita Park hosts the Breeders' Cup World Championships Oct. 31-Nov. 1, track management is confident its new dirt surface will perform well and safely.

During an Oct. 30 Breeders' Cup media briefing on safety and security, Santa Anita president Tom Ludt said the new surface, which debuted in late September and is primarily "El Segundo sand," is regularly monitored for moisture content. That was an issue on the first day of the 2013 Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita when there was a definitive speed bias.

"The old track became inconsistent," Ludt said. "(The Stronach Group) invested an enormous amount of money (in the surface), and the number one goal is always the safety of the horses and jockeys."

Current track superintendent Dennis Moore wasn't in charge of the surface last year. Ludt indicated changes have been made in the maintenance of the surface in the last year

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Tom LaMarra, a native of New Jersey and graduate of Rutgers University, has been news editor at The Blood-Horse since 1998. After graduation he worked at newspapers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania as an editor and reporter with a focus on municipal government and politics. He also worked at Daily Racing Form and Thoroughbred Times before joining The Blood-Horse. LaMarra, who has lived in Lexington since 1994, has won various writing awards and was recognized with the Old Hilltop Award for outstanding coverage of the horse racing industry. He likes to spend some of his spare time handicapping races.

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