Headley pleased with Del Mar's dirt
Trainer Bruce Headley, who made no secret of his dislike of Del Mar's old Polytrack, is pleased so far with the new dirt track, according to Monday's stable notes.
"The track seems very good. The horses are just gliding over it and they're not slipping and sliding, so Mr. Tedesco has done a good job with it," Headley said, referring to track superintendent Richard Tedesco.
Also commenting on the fresh strip was trainer Eddie Truman.
"The new track is settling in," Truman said. "It will take a little time but Richard Tedesco does such a great job, he'll get it just right."
For more background on the surface, and the installation process, here's the write-up from Del Mar's notes, by Hank Wesch:
Not plain, old dirt. "El Segundo sand," a soil found in the area around Los Angeles International Airport which Santa Anita also extricated for its racing surface two years ago.
"Having a uniform racing surface on the Southern California circuit is very important," said Del Mar Thoroughbred Club President and CEO Joe Harper. "The reason we went back to dirt was the same reason we went to synthetics -- safety of the horses and riders."
The conversion began on December 8, 2014, eight days after the close of the inaugural Bing Crosby fall meeting. Crews began removing the 15,000 tons of Polytrack, a process which took over two weeks. Offered free to those who would haul it away, all 15,000 tons were recycled to 35 different equine facilities.
From January to March of this year the sub-base was removed, recycled and mostly re-used. In the same period irrigation and drainage systems were updated and the main track compacted preparatory to rebuilding. In March and April 30,000 tons of decomposed granite went into the sub-base and 31,000 tons of El Segundo sand was put down for a 10" deep cushion. On May 14 an unnamed 2-year-old to be sold at the Barretts sale two weeks later became the first racehorse to test the track.
The track was sealed on May 29 and turned over to the Fairgrounds for the duration of the Del Mar Fair, returned to the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club on July 6. Horses began shipping into the facility on July 8 and training last Friday.
Twenty-five horses worked out on the main track Sunday morning and approximately 80 on Monday morning, clocker John Malone reported.
Photo of the new dirt track on May 14 courtesy of Del Mar via Twitter.