Careful observers may have noted quicker times coming off Belmont Park’s turf courses than usual, and the Daily Racing Form’s David Grening reported this week that updates to the track’s maintenance and weather patterns are likely responsible. The course record for 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf has already been broken twice, and the Widener course has seen its record for five furlongs broken this race meet.
The grass at Belmont is being cut more frequently than what it has been in previous seasons and is also being cut shorter, producing a healthier lawn and a drier surface. It’s a common myth that longer grass is necessarily healthier grass, according to New York Racing Association vice president of racing services Glen Kozak. There has been less rain going into this year’s season at Belmont than what was true in the past, when moisture in the early spring led to extra wear and tear on the course early on.
Finally, course officials told Grening that a computerized irrigation system in place this year allows them to better customize the amount of water that certain parts of the course experience. Rather than watering the whole thing to cover a few dry patches, the irrigation can now be better targeted only where it’s needed.
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