Veteran Track Expert Will Begin Santa Anita Inspection Today

March 7, 2019 – Starting Friday, March 8, 2019, Santa Anita will reopen its inner exercise track to all horses stabled on the grounds.  That track, about six furlongs (3/4 of a mile) in circumference, is inside both the one mile main track and seven furlong turf course at Santa Anita.  Since opening day there have been no catastrophic injuries sustained on it.

Veteran trackman Dennis Moore and Dr. Mick Peterson from University of Kentucky’s Racing Surfaces Testing Lab inspected the inner exercise track. After evaluating it extensively, Moore said he’s “happy with it”.  Once it reopens, they will closely monitor that track’s condition as horses stabled at Santa Anita Park begin using it.

“Like all athletes horses need to stay active, so this is a good decision for their overall health since it allows our horses to get out of their stalls and keeps them moving to aid their digestion,” said Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.

Use of the inner exercise track will be restricted to galloping or jogging only until further notice.


March 7, 2019 – Highly respected California-based trackman Dennis Moore and Dr. Mick Peterson of Racing Services Testing Lab were at Santa Anita today to begin extensive testing of the one-mile main track.


Before the formal process of testing the one-mile track can begin, at the request of the consultants, Santa Anita personnel began harrowing and aerating the track which has been saturated due to recent rains.  Mr. Moore and Dr Mick Peterson from the University of Kentucky’s Racing Services Testing Lab have informed Santa Anita that they do not have a timetable for completion of the testing and evaluation. Officials representing the California Horse Racing Board were present to observe the process. 


March 6, 2019 – Highly respected track man Dennis Moore will begin extensive testing and a thorough review of the one-mile main track at Santa Anita today.  


Mr. Moore and Dr. Mick Peterson of the Racing Services Testing Lab will do additional testing of the track to ensure track consistency and uniformity for both training and racing.  At the same time, Santa Anita is conducting a comprehensive evaluation of all existing safety measures and current protocols.


“As horse lovers first and foremost, we are deeply saddened by the losses experienced over the past several weeks. The loss of just one horse is one too many. While we can’t prevent every injury, we can’t overemphasize that the health and welfare of the horses and jockeys is our top priority,” said Tim Ritvo, Chief Operating Officer, The Stronach Group, the owners of Santa Anita Park. “The track will be closed for live racing and training until our outside experts confirm the soundness of the track and let us know that it is safe to resume racing.


Mr. Moore has more than 46 years of experience working with racing surfaces in CA and worldwide, served as Santa Anita Track Superintendent from 2014 until his retirement this past Dec. 31.  Currently employed as Track Superintendent at both Del Mar and Los Alamitos, Moore was chiefly responsible for providing Santa Anita with the “El Segundo sand” which was installed here to universal acclaim in 2014.  The son of a track superintendent, Moore grew up in racing, and in addition to his father, Bob, his brother Ron has also served in the same role at various tracks in California.


The Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory has been a pioneer in creating a Maintenance Quality System, which utilizes both daily measurements and enhanced techniques and technologies to manage racing surfaces with a goal of creating a consistent and safer racing surface.


Officials at Santa Anita Park have been in constant communication with the California Horse Racing Board and key stakeholders who fully support our decision to close the track while we conduct additional testing of the track, review current protocols and existing safety measures.   All horses who stable at Santa Anita will remain on site, and Santa Anita will remain open to the public for simulcast.

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