Track Supers Field Day: Expect More Record-Keeping Under HISA – Horse Racing News

Track Supers Field Day: Expect More Record-Keeping Under HISA – Horse Racing News


More than 100 industry professionals attended the first day of meetings and panels at Track Superintendent Field Day at Gulfstream Park. The event brings together track supers and staff to discuss best practices and share ideas about track maintenance and safety.  

Roy Smith, track superintendent at Horseshoe Indianapolis and founder of the event, joined Michael Depew of Pro Turf Environmental and Sports Turf Surfaces to discuss how the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) will affect track supers. 

“It’s going to change the industry when the federal government comes in to regulate racing,” said Smith about the implementation of HISA on July 1. “There’s going to be more record keeping and new record keeping.”  

HISA rules will require a wide range of data to be collected and submitted to the Authority, including racetrack design records, racing and training surface maintenance records, surface material tests and numerous daily tests.  

There are still many unanswered questions about how these records are to be formatted and submitted, but Smith said it was clear that the new rules will require more time from track supers and staff. 

That lead to discussion about staffing challenges, with most in attendance reporting difficulty finding enough staff. Some have had success finding new employees through social media, and others have benefitted from using staff from other departments, like those who work the starting gate. 

Depew also spoke about approaches for assessing and monitoring racing surfaces with John Mascaro of Turf-Tec International. 

Also on Monday, Dr. John “Trey” Rogers of Michigan State University talked about how to grow the ideal turf for racing, including turfgrass selection, establishment and re-establishment techniques and how to manage turf for top performance.  

Other presentations covered equipment trends from New Holland and track layout and design.  

“This is probably going to the highest attended event we’ve ever had,” said Steve Andersen of Equine Equipment, the title sponsor of the event. “It’s great to see the commitment that so many racetracks have made to the safety of our sport by sending their track supers and staff to this important gathering.” 

Track Superintendent Field Day wraps up on Tuesday with another full day with topics including on-track emergency response, working with racetrack and regulatory veterinarians to improve horse safety, turf irrigation design and a second panel on HISA. There will also be roundtable discussions for jockeys and track supers.   

More information about Track Superintendent Field Day is available at