New Water Trucks added to fleet

The 14th season of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing opens up with three brand new water trucks on the track. The trucks, specially designed for Indiana Grand, join six new John Deere tractors to kick off the new meet.

The water trucks were designed by Batts, Inc. based in Advance, Ind., just west of Indianapolis. The company specializes in unique equipment used for various job details, including de-icer vehicles utilized at airports. The trucks are larger than past models used at Indiana Grand and are International brand.

“The new trucks have a 4,000 gallon capacity apiece,” said Roy Smith, track superintendent. “There is a 30 foot boom off the passenger side and we now have capacity to water 40 feet of racetrack at one time. In the past, the capacity to water was only 20 feet, so we have doubled our capabilities with the new trucks.”

In addition, track maintenance has two new mowers they utilize for the infield and turf course upkeep. The turf course also got a boost earlier this year with the addition of more thermal blankets, which promote early and stronger growth of the bluegrass on the course.

Thermal blankets were first implemented by Smith last year at Indiana Grand. Additional blankets were added in 2016 and now, almost all of the seven-eighths mile turf course can be covered by the specialty blankets at once, leaving only a few feet exposed at one time.

The upgrades to track maintenance are just a few of the additions to the grounds. New sidewalks were also added from the paddock area all the way back to the receiving barn, making travel for horsemen much easier as they come up from the barn area on racing days.

The track maintenance department will be showcased June 12 through 14 this summer as the 15th annual Track Superintendent’s Field Day will come to Indiana. Track superintendents from all across the world will come in for a conference featuring guest speakers, the latest in equipment and other options that assist those that work on the track. Nearly 100 track superintendents from Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse and Standardbred tracks are included in the event co-hosted by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA). The event, which was started by Smith during his tenure at PARX in Pennsylvania, has grown to include track superintendents from England, Dubai, Puerto Rico and Canada in addition to racetracks in the United States.