VEA Track Superintendent John Dale Thomas, who recently completed a track “refreshening” project at the Middleburg Training Center, is nearing completion of a similar project at Donna and Karen Dennehy’s Eagle Point Farm in Ashland.
The two week stint involved peeling the cushion back to the base, replacing all the drain tiles, rebasing the track with a new layer of clay, and redistributing the cushion evenly. “It’s a clay based track,” said Thomas, “And we found a place to …harvest the clay right at the farm so the project moved along seamlessly. We had good weather with a little bit of rain, which made conditions ideal.”
For the immediate future, Thomas’s efforts will be focused on the VEA’s two main future pari-mutuel racing venues. Morven Park is slated to begin thoroughbred racing in 2017 and track preparation and upgrades will begin shortly. The Shenandoah County Fairgrounds in Woodstock will play host to standardbred racing beginning in September, and Thomas will be involved in a comprehensive track widening project as well.