- Published: Saturday, 16 January 2021 15:40
Chris Bosley, who has been the dirt track superintendent for the Maryland Jockey Club since spring of 2018, has added oversight of the turf courses at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course to his duties.
Bosley on Jan. 15 said he has been working closely with consultant Sean Gault, former Director of Thoroughbred Surfaces at Woodbine in Toronto, who is now semi-retired, to design a plan to improve the Laurel turf course.
“We’re currently designing a plan to attack the turf course,” Bosley said. “Everyone knows we have had an ongoing drainage issue. We’re approaching this from every angle possible. It’s going to take a while for us to get where we want to be but we’ll do everything in our power to get there. MJC is providing the crew, equipment and the resources to get it done.”
Bosley has consulted repeatedly with Robbie Mitten, the New York Racing Association turf course superintendent who worked at Laurel and played a role in the widening of the course during a major reconstruction project.
“We’re definitely taking all the right steps and are designing a really solid plan,” Bosley said. “We’ll be at it early in February if the weather allows it. We’ll start soil testing the second we’re able to.”
Bosley said the overhaul will take time and MJC is keenly aware of the importance of grass racing to the Laurel Park and Pimlico programs.
“We’re taking a whole new approach on how to race and maintain a turf course in general,” Bosley said. “We’re focused on what is best in the long run for the turf. Surfaces need to be priority one (for safety reasons).”
Ricky Sweeney, who works on Bosley’s crew, will take on added responsibilities and has been appointed Assistant Track Superintendent.
“Ricky deserves it—he has been a huge help to me on the dirt track,” Bosley said. “He has been learning along with us. We’re taking our skill set to another level and will get this right.”
Steve Koch, the Senior Vice President of Racing for 1/ST Racing (The Stronach Group, which owns the MJC tracks) who had earlier worked at Woodbine, said the turf course at Laurel Park is “a comprehensive project that has some complicated objectives. A lot of science goes into this. There are surface drainage issues and we’re going to develop best practice day-in and day-out strategies.
“Surfaces are a priority for the company, and this project will require enormous time and financial investment. The mission is that both surfaces must be world-class courses.”