After an especially wet winter forced Turf Paradise to cancel numerous races, the Phoenix racetrack took the bold step of renovating its racing surface.
The renovation was overseen by Turf Paradise track consultant Steve Wood, one of the most renowned racetrack experts in the country. Wood is a former track superintendent for Oak Tree, Del Mar, and Santa Anita race meets.
In order to give the racing surface a fresh start, existing dirt and sand was removed from the main track. Crews also lowered the drain inside the rail by eight inches to ensure proper drainage.
Crews then added quality sand and organics. The track was surveyed with a sonar grader and rechecked with a handheld laser. While the materials are new and high quality, Wood said the overall composition should be familiar enough to the horses accustomed to racing at Turf Paradise.
Wood notes that the surface was surveyed within a third of an inch, "And is as perfect as we can get it." Crews also surveyed both chutes and added sand to them as well.
The training track was rebuilt with the materials removed from the main track and that track has been surveyed as well. The sand was also repurposed to improve the bridle paths on the backside.
Turf Paradise general manager Vince Francia said, "Maintaining the best and safest racing surface for our horses and jockeys is the priority."
So as to prevent any major disruptions to the racing schedule, the track renovations were completed in three and a half days. And to ensure continued track quality, grade markers have been posted every eighth of a mile.