ARCADIA, Calif. (March 2, 2016)–Santa Anita Park has announced it will begin installation of a completely new Bermuda turf course on June 20, which will be ready for use in advance of Santa Anita’s Autumn Meet which begins in late September.
“With the impact of additional racing dates and increased demand for turf racing, the replacement of the course is something we have been anticipating and planning for several months,” said Joe Morris, Senior Vice President, West Coast Operations for The Stronach Group. “The new course will be very tight-knit and uniform, and we’re confident that we can have it fully installed by early July, which will give it the time it needs during optimum growing conditions.
“Turf racing is extremely popular with our fans and horsemen, and with our expanded racing calendar, we are placing demands on this course that have never before existed. The new turf is designed to be robust enough to handle the additional use. The horsemen are fully supportive of this project, and together, we look forward to its implementation.”
Trainer Jim Cassidy, President of the California Thoroughbred Trainers (CTT), said the following: “A completely new and durable turf course is essential to successful year ’round racing at Santa Anita. Track leadership has been careful to consider our suggestions and we are pleased to endorse their plan.”
Beginning June 6, preparations will begin on the hillside portion of the course, with the turf oval scheduled for closure beginning June 20. The first course of action will be to remove the existing turf and prepare the soil for the installation of the fully mature Bermuda, which has been grown in La Quinta, Calif.
With an oval that measures about seven furlongs, Santa Anita’s Camino Real Turf Course is unlike any other in North America, in that it features a hillside component, which measures about 6 ½ furlongs (4,777 feet) from the top of the hill to the finish line.
With Santa Anita’s current Winter Meet drawing to a close on April 10, turf racing in California will shift to Golden Gate Fields as they conduct their 75th anniversary Turf Festival, which will run from April 14 through May 1. Turf Festival purses will be increased and horsemen will be offered complementary vanning between Santa Anita and Golden Gate.
As a result of Santa Anita’s turf course project, there will be no turf racing here from June 23 through closing day of the track’s Spring Meeting on July 10.
Turf racing will resume with the onset of Santa Anita’s Autumn Meet, which runs from Sept. 30 through Nov. 6.