There have been conflicting reports as to how long the actual racing surface will be off-limits for training, however. A person in attendance at the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association meeting on July 24 said it was announced that the estimated time would only be about 10 days.
Apparently, the track will be employing some state-of-the-art technology in performing this “maintenance.”
In the most recent issue of the PTHA’s newsletter, it reveals that Philly Park is using the latest technology to resurface the racetrack. The technology, called Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), uses radar pulses to image the subsurface or “shoot the grades,” which detects the irregularities or unevenness on the track, without any drilling or pulling back the cushion, thus saving time if repairs need to be made. Any problems can be diagnosed before digging.
“We shoot at 25-inch intervals around the entire track, and from the rail out at regular intervals, in order to produce all of the information needed to evaluate the base of the track,” said track superintendent Roy Smith. “It is very time consuming, but is much easier than using string and tools for measurements, which was done in the past.”
However long it takes, many of the horses stabled at Philadelphia Park will be receiving a long-overdue vacation during the dog days of August.
More Pha news: Beginning late in July, Philadelphia Park increased the purse payment back to last place from $150 to $200. However, the PTHA will now deduct an additional $10 per start from owner’s accounts for the fund “to promote racing.”
It was explained that this money would be used “to help educate our legislators on the impact of racing on the economy of the Commonwealth.”
Ten dollars per start is already deducted from owner’s accounts to help fund the Turning For Home retirement program.
* ** *
While we’re on the subject of the Pha, one of the names that has been bandied about lately as a potential entrant in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby on September 28 is champion Lookin at Lucky, winner of this year’s Gr. 1 Preakness Stakes and Haskell Invitational Handicap.
A Philadelphia newspaper speculated that last year’s 2-year-old champ could be under consideration for the event; however, the colt came down with a slight fever after the Haskell and his training has been interrupted.
Besides the purse, we can’t imagine that trainer Bob Baffert and his ownership would seriously think about the Pa. Derby, especially since it is a Grade 2 event.