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ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 15, 2016)—Santa Anita Park’s all-new turf course got its first “close-up” in advance of its Autumn Meet opener on Sept. 30 as trainer John Sadler and jockey Mike Smith teamed with Hronis Racing’s 3-year-old Curlin Rules to work four furlongs in 48.80 Thursday morning.

Accompanied by a Sadler stable pony, Curlin Rules came onto Santa Anita’s main track at 9:49 a.m., entered the turf course near the finish line and was kept well off the inside rail as he broke free from the pony heading down the turf course backstretch.

“This is just like Augusta (National Golf Club, home of the Masters),” joked Smith as he came off the course. “This colt seemed to really like it. It’s like a brand new putting green and it’s only going to get better and better. We’ve got two more weeks (before opening day) and that’s going to help even more.”

Santa Anita’s official clocking team had Curlin Rules striding through an opening quarter mile of 24.40.

Comprised of a Bandera-Bermuda Turf mixture, the new course was installed this past June and will be ready for racing on opening day, day one of the 23-day stand which will be highlighted by the two-day Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Nov. 4 & 5.

“We’ve had optimal growing conditions over the summer and we’re anxious to demonstrate this course is ready for prime time,” said Joe Morris, Vice President of West Coast Operations for The Stronach Group. “This grass is close knit and uniform and it’s designed for this climate. We’re pleased with the way both the hillside course and the oval look and with how the grass has taken root. With the Breeders’ Cup coming in November, we can’t wait to get started.”

A maiden special weight winner going 1 1/16 miles on dirt here Feb. 21, Curlin Rules, a Kentucky-bred colt by Curlin, comes off a one mile turf allowance win at Del Mar on August 6.

The public is encouraged to attend daily morning workouts at Santa Anita’s Clockers’ Corner, which is located at the top of the stretch via Gate 8 off of Baldwin Ave. Admission is free and a full breakfast menu is offered from early morning training hours until 10 a.m. each day.

First post time on opening day is at 1 p.m. For more information on Santa Anita’s Autumn Meet and the two-day Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Nov. 4 & 5, please visit or call (626) 574-RACE.

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