Chris Bosley: Laurel Park Surface 'Heading In The Right Direction' - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Chris Bosley: Laurel Park Surface ‘Heading In The Right Direction’

The Maryland Jockey Club track maintenance crew has been adding some clay to portions of the Laurel Park dirt surface—mainly from the half-mile pole to the 1/8 pole—to make the composition consistent with the rest of the surface heading into the cold-weather months.

MJC Track Superintendent Chris Bosley said the goal is to have 2% clay content across the surface. But based on test results, the area in question had clay content of 1% to 1.5%, he said.

“The Laurel Park surface is heading in the right direction,” Bosley said. “We concentrated on that area because the clay percentage was a little too low, and we want it to match the rest of the track. After Maryland Million (on Oct. 22), we'll start putting clean sand down to winterize the track, and we'll be doing it slowly. We'll make sure to get word out to horsemen about the day we are going start it.”

Bosley noted that the clay that is being added is very sandy clay similar to that used at New York Racing Association tracks. He said it's more sand than clay but more clay than silt—those are the three materials that make up the dirt surface. The sand is added to help combat freeze-thaw conditions in the winter months.

“The surface is definitely much, much improved than it was this time last year,” Bosley said. “The pad is much better than it was and is gaining structural integrity, but we still check it every day.”

Logan Freeman, who oversees the turf courses for the MJC, provided an update to the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association Board of Directors as well during its Sept. 29 meeting.

“Right now, we have a super-strong turf team—they are very dedicated,” he said. “The drainage at Laurel has not improved 100% but we are learning what the problem is and how to address it.”

The turf crew continued to fertilize, aerate and deep-tine the course when racing moved to the Maryland State Fair at Timonium and Pimlico Race Course for about six weeks. Freeman said the root structure of the grass is continuing to improve, and that the turf team, MJC officials and jockeys will regularly discuss the condition of course through the fall meet.

“If the (surface) is safe, we are going to race on it,” he said.

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