- Published: Saturday, 21 April 2018 16:44
Maryland native Chris Bosley has spent the better part of the last two weeks getting acclimated in his new job as track superintendent for Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, but he said he already has seen progress.
Bosley, 28, now oversees all track maintenance crews at both racetracks. He previously served as track superintendent for the Maryland State Fair at Timonium and its related May 2-year-olds in training sale for five years.
“Chris is in charge of the dirt surfaces at Laurel and Pimlico and will report directly to me,” Maryland Jockey Club President Sal Sinatra said.
Gonzalo Herrera-Avanda will remain the turf specialist with the goal of Bosley also taking over the grass courses in the near future. In addition, Dr. Mick Peterson, Executive Director of the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory and head of the University of Kentucky Equine Programs, will assist Bosley as he grows into his new role and also will be involved in the surface at Pimlico to ensure its safety in advance of the Preakness Stakes.
About 2,500 tons of cushion material is on its way to Pimlico for surface improvements for the meet that begins May 10.
Bosley’s family has a background in the racing industry, and he has a passion track maintenance.
“I was hired as track superintendent at Timonium when I was 23, doing the whole show,” Bosley said. “My father, Chuck, was the maintenance supervisor at Timonium but retired about 10 years ago. My first year on the track was when I was 17, driving the water truck and tractor.
“This opportunity (with the MJC) presented itself, and I’d have been a fool not to take it. I want to provide a safe, sound racetrack first and foremost, and also want everything to look good and have a crew that takes pride in its work and enjoys the work. This is more than a job; we need to make it a sustainable career.”
Bosley, who met with horsemen’s representatives the afternoon of April 20 and indicated a willingness to meet with them on a regular basis to get feedback, said he already has seen a difference in the dirt surface at Laurel.
“Last week I started out, and right now I see improvement,” he said. “The grading needed to be evened out a bit. We need more cushion out there, and we’ve begun doing that.”
The MJC recently altered training hours at Laurel to include two maintenance breaks, which Bosley said should improve the surface. In order to facilitate the expanded maintenance, it’s important for horses to be off the track before each break in a timely fashion, as well as when training ends each morning.
“At 10:30, we need to be out there (with equipment on the track),” Bosley said. “It’s just going to help the track surface. (The new schedule) gives us more time to work the track and keep it more even and fair. There’s also more time to put water on it and harrow it, which benefits the horses.
“You can’t have a racetrack without horses, and safety is a huge thing. It’s all about the horses. I think everyone is getting on the same page now. It’s all going to help us keep the track even and fair. It’s going to take some time, but the group here has been great, and they care.”