Multi-Million-Dollar Dirt Track Remodel Completed On Schedule
Laurel, Md.– The four-month reconstruction of Laurel Park’s dirt surface, which included the replacement of the cushion, base and substructure, officially ended Tuesday morning on schedule when horses once again began training over the track.
The multi-million-dollar track renovation by the Maryland Jockey Club included the installation of an entirely new cushion on top of a newly laid base with subsurface drainage improvements. The main dirt track was closed on April 11th after necessary remediation was identified as part of ongoing maintenance.
Dennis Moore, Senior Track Superintendent, 1/ST RACING said, “Using the opportunity of the temporary pause on racing this spring to invest in a complete main track rehabilitation has resulted in a superior racing and training surface at Laurel Park which will serve in the best interests of year-round racing in Maryland for many years to come.”
Trainer Jose Corrales, who galloped approximately 15 horses on the track Tuesday, said, “The feedback for the whole morning from what I hear, because I listen to everybody from different stables because I stay by the gap, and the feedback was [the track] was very good, very even. I didn’t hear one negative thing today. You would expect it could happen, but there was not one negative thing from anybody or any of my riders. They did a very good job, and it looks very even, even though yesterday it rained like crazy here.”
Trainer Anthony ‘TJ’ Aguirre Jr., who gallops his horses, said, “I was really happy the way they were skipping over the track, switching leads. No stumbling problems or loose footing problems. And I thought it was really good for as much rain as we got. I thought it had a good amount of cushion.”
Matt McCarron, who gallops for Rodney Jenkins, said, “I give them a thumbs up. What I found most striking was the consistency. That was the biggest difference I saw. It was consistent throughout.”
While the main track at Laurel Park was closed, the Maryland Jockey Club also enhanced the turf course irrigation infrastructure for more consistent water application and improved the turf drainage with an aggressive deep-tine aeration program. Both initiatives are ongoing investments to enhance the long-term consistency of the turf.
“We would like to thank the Maryland horsemen, jockeys and the backstretch teams for their patience and support while we affected this important remediation of the track surface,” said Aidan Butler, Chief Operating Officer, 1/ST RACING. “The investment made by 1/ST RACING and the Maryland Jockey Club reflect our company’s commitment to delivering best-in-class racing and training for our stakeholders in Maryland. Today, we are thrilled to welcome horsemen back to Laurel Park as we prepare for what is shaping up to be a competitive and entertaining fall meet.”
Laurel Park’s fall meet, with a $3.525 million stakes schedule, featuring the Jim McKay Maryland Million, begins September 9th.
For more information on the Maryland Jockey Club at Laurel Park, visit www.laurelpark.com or follow on social @MarylandJockeyClub.
By David Joseph, VP Communications, Maryland Jockey Club
Photo of Laurel Park’s new dirt track by Maryland Jockey Club