Santa Anita's Season Starts on New Track

When the 25-day autumn meet began at Santa Anita on September 26, it was with a brand new dirt track consisting of El Segundo sand excavated from construction sites at Los Angeles International Airport. Due to the sand's uniformity and ability to drain quickly it is anticipated that the track will be safer for equine athletes than the previous sand and clay track which it replaced...

When the 25-day autumn meet began at Santa Anita on September 26, it was with a brand new dirt track consisting of El Segundo sand excavated from construction sites at Los Angeles International Airport. Due to the sand's uniformity and ability to drain quickly it is anticipated that the track will be safer for equine athletes than the previous sand and clay track which it replaced. The El Segundo sand track is also reportedly easier to maintain without excessive use of water, making it an eco-friendly option in an area battling droughts.

Santa Anita's track superintendent Dennis Moore noted that in his experience all the best racetrack surfaces in the country are comprised of indigenous naturally occurring soils - which have gone through hundreds of thousands of years of breaking down and therefore will not wear down easily - rather than those that are man-made. With Santa Anita picking up races previously run at Hollywood park, and training taking place practically all year around, a low-maintenance, reliable track is essential. El Segundo sand was used successfully at the now defunct Hollywood Park, which Moore oversaw prior to its shutdown. Del Mar officials have confirmed that they plan to change their synthetic surface race track to El Segundo sand in the near future, and other tracks are likely to follow this trend.

As host of the Breeders' Cup weekend on Friday October 31 and November 1, 2014, Santa Anita will be welcoming the cream of the crop in Thoroughbred racing, along with thousands of spectators, offering the opportunity to see how competitors take to the new racetrack. Friday’s Breeders' Cup program includes the Juvenile Turf, Dirt Mile, Juvenile Fillies Turf and the Distaff, while Saturday's program features the Juvenile Fillies, Filly & Mare Turf, DraftKings Filly & Mare Sprint, Turf Sprint, Sentient Jet Juvenile, Turf, Xpressbet Sprint, Mile and the $5 million Breeder's Cup Classic. Contenders for the Classic title include Shared Belief, Bayern, Majestic Harbor, Moreno, Tonalist, California Chrome, Imperative, Itsmyluckyday, Lea, Medal Count, Prayer for Relief, Tapiture, Toast of New York, V.E. Day, Wicked Strong and Zivo.