Keeneland Begins Installing New Dirt Course

keeneland construction#216-tons of polytrack have been lifted and taken away at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky and over the past couple of weeks, crews have been preparing the track for its new dirt surface. Monday, trucks began arriving with the new dirt and the installation began.

But unlike in your backyard, where you fill up the wheel barrow and just dump the dirt where you want it, the process at Keeneland is a little more arduous as you’ll see in this video. First they put in a state-of-the-art drainage system, one Keeneland officials say is the first of its kind in North America. Then crews laid down 25,000 tons of Class 1 sand, which will be used as a base for the dirt surface. All of it leading up to Monday’s dramatic beginning to the installation of the new dirt on Keeneland’s  1 1/16 mile main track

So, if you think watching grass grow is exciting, check out the laying of dirt at Keeneland

Kentucky Downs Announces Turf Course And Rail Renovations

Ky DownsThe purchase of a world class turf rail and a number of other course improvements are underway for the 2014 Kentucky Downs live race meet which begins on Saturday, September 6. The five-day season, which will offer a daily average purse structure of more than $1 million, is conducted on North America’s only European-style turf course.

Overseeing the improvements will be Ron Moore, formerly the track superintendent at Santa Anita and Lone Star Park, when the latter track hosted the 2004 Breeders’ Cup. The first steps of dethatching, overseeding, soil conditioning, aerating and improving drainage have been completed. The new rail installation will take place in August, as well as the completion of a comprehensive… Read the rest of this entry >>

Laurel Park Fall Meet Stakes Schedule Approved

Laurel Park#3The Maryland Jockey Club has unveiled the 2014 Laurel Park fall schedule after reaching agreement with the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. The schedule was approved at the Maryland Racing Commission during its monthly meeting.

There will be further Maryland-bred stakes added to the schedule before the 65-day fall meeting begins September 5.

Headlining the stand will be the 29th running of the Jim McKay Maryland Million Day for the offspring of Maryland-based stallions on Saturday, Oct. 18, the Fall Festival of Racing on Saturday, Nov. 15 with six stakes races topped by the $350,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash and five… Read the rest of this entry >>

California Chrome Back at Los Alamitos: Video

cal chrome#20During the hustle and bustle of back-to-back opening days at Del Mar and Saratoga, California Chrome quietly returned to his home base at Los Alamitos last week and began training for what his connections hope will be a run in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in November.

He is arguably the most popular horse in America right now and there was a time, during his triple crown run, that every move he made was documented on Twitter. So much so, that a few twitterers asked sarcastically, “what’s next?”

There was California Chrome walking into the trailer, California Chrome walking off the trailer, California Chrome stepping on the plane, California Chrome getting off the plane. There was California Chrome walking to his barn, California Chrome getting a bath, California Chrome visiting with children, California Chrome running with a opossum (which, actually, was pretty cool).

Well, never one to be shy about pushing the line just a little bit further, has come up with a video of California Chrome, taken shortly after he returned to Los Al, that is sure to go viral, if it hasn’t done so already. We have California Chrome…eating. Yes, the big chestnut attacking his ball of hay.

So gather the children together, and get ready for California Chrome: Eating…



Del Mar Rings Up Positive Numbers In First Week

Del Mar#16Del Mar began its 75th summer season on a Thursday this year, but just as it has for the better part of two decades, but the seaside track put up great number numbers despite the opening day shift.

Whereas the seaside oval bypassed its normal Wednesday beginning in order to have an extra day to ready itself following an extended San Diego Fair season, the opening four days of the session proved solid on its ledgers even though it lost a day and a total of five races in the first… Read the rest of this entry >>

Stevens’ Knee Worse Than Previously Thought: Will Have Surgery Friday

Gary Stevens#2The damage to rider Gary Stevens’ knee is worse than first believed, meaning he will have to undergo full knee replacement surgery, jeopardizing his chances of ever returning to riding.

Earlier this month, Stevens said in an interview on HRTV that he was going to undergo a partial knee replacement and hoped to be back riding competitively by the first of next year. But a recent MRI on the knee revealed a torn ACL and so much damage to the knee, doctors said a full replacement was necessary.

While making the announcement, Stevens apologized to anybody who lost money on him in the last month and a half, the time he figures he injured the knee. But he assured everyone that he was always trying his best. Stevens was hoping to get through the Breeders’ Cup before undergoing surgery, but it just got too bad. Dr. Andrew Yun told Stevens he has never seen anybody do what Gary has been doing with no ACL.

Stevens will have the surgery next Friday, the 25th. He understands that the odds of  a comeback just went higher, admitting that a few tears fell during the phone call with his doctor. But he plans to give it his all in hopes of getting back in the saddle. Steven is just 12-wins short of… Read the rest of this entry >>

The Battle of the Surfaces: Two Races in One at Canterbury Park

Battle of SurfacesJudging by the fact that we barely have enough horses to fill a card when the races are run one-at-a-time, it’s probably a safe bet that what Canterbury Park did Saturday is not the future of horse racing. But it would be cool if it was. Running two races, one on the turf, another on the dirt, simultaneously.

They called it the Battle of the Surfaces. Not sure what it was supposed to prove but it looked good.

The Battle of the Surfaces: Video

They put 12-horses on the turf course and ten on the dirt. The races started at the same time, but the dirt horses only went a mile while those on the turf traveled 1 1/16 mile. because theoretically, horses run faster on the turf.  The idea was to get both fields to finish at the same time. In the end, they came close.