Evergreen Radiant turf cover in use at Del Mar racetrack
Establishing a good racing surface is extremely important, and the newly renovated Del Mar Thoroughbred Club turf course has performed very well. Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith, who rode Enterprising to Victory in the La Jolla Handicap at Del Mar in August, commented on the new turf course.
“I think it really is a good course,” he said. “I thought so right from the start. It was firm, but it had a nice bounce to it. Now it might even be better. Horses go over it smooth, quiet. You don’t hear any of that clump, clump, clump on the backstretch. It’s all good. By the time we’re done here, this course might be as good as any in the country.”
For the start of the 2014 season, Del Mar Thoroughbred Racing Club in Southern California began a huge project to renovate and replace the track’s original 53-year-old Turf Course. Turf Manager Leif Dickinson was in charge of the renovation project and felt he needed to get turf covers to ensure that the new turf took root and would be ready for the season. Although Evergreen has successfully been used at several other race tracks, such as Belmont Park, Aqueduct, and Churchill Downs, the climate in Southern California presented other issues that were of concern. Before making the decision on which turf cover would best meet the requirements, Leif did a lot of research and tested many different covers. During his trials he found the Covermaster’s Evergreen Radiant resulted in the best light penetration, heat retention and turf quality. Del Mar took delivery of Evergreen Radiant Turf Blankets to cover the entire outer oval of the turf course prior to the new sod being installed in early March.
Covermaster representative, Thomas Bell, was recently in San Diego and visited the Del Mar track to discuss the success of the Evergreen program. He asked Leif if he achieved the result he had expected from the cover. Leif confirmed that he had the light penetration he needed and the covers made a big difference. The turf crew installed the covers again prior to the fall racing season. Leif said the covers will go out again in mid-December and stay covered for the better part of the next month. The Evergreen Radiant Turf covers will remain a part of the turf maintenance program in preparation for hosting the Breeders Cup in 2017. This is the first time that Del Mar, one of the most iconic tracks in the country, will play host to the Breeders’ Cup.