Horses returned to a sealed main track the morning of Aug. 29, eight days after the renovation of the Laurel Park dirt surface began.

The surface was sealed before and after the break because of steady, light rain from a disturbance off the Atlantic Coast. The morning featured mostly light gallops.

“It sounds nice (when the horses gallop on it) and it feels better,” trainer Katy Voss said, “but you can’t necessarily tell off of a sealed surface. It certainly has more cushion on it than before—at least it feels like it does. It seems softer and kinder but that could be a combination of the weather and how they sealed it.

“It could be Thursday or Friday before we get a good handle on it.”

Maryland Jockey Club President Sal Sinatra said though the track was reopened, the work “isn’t over by any means.”

“They still have grading to do and dirt to move around, and they’ll also look at the berm under the rail,” he said. “They’ll shoot the grades again after training Wednesday. We wanted the track sealed anyway, so Mother Nature helped us out.

“I don’t think we’ll see noticeable changes until the end of the week (when the surface dries out). I think the guys that worked on the surface are happy with it, and hopefully everybody will be happy the by weekend.”

Trainer Ferris Allen indicated initial feedback is favorable, but it’s a process.

“So much of it is about the cushion,” he said. “Once horses start training on it you have to worry about it pushing down and whether there are spots on the pad that haven’t sealed properly. But it will take a little time to see how it is.”

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