Expert in the field of track maintenance has consulted on racing surfaces worldwide
Canterbury Park racing officials announced today that track maintenance expert Javier Barajas, whose consulting services are in demand around the world, will return to the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack as track superintendent for the 2023 racing season. Barajas previously held the position at Canterbury from 2013 to 2016. He will again oversee the conditioning and daily upkeep of the dirt and turf tracks. He has managed the surfaces at many of the world’s most famous racetracks including Keeneland in Kentucky, Arlington Park in Chicago, Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, Fair Grounds in New Orleans and Golden Gate Fields in the San Francisco Bay Area while most recently working at Ellis Park. Barajas also operates a consulting service, traveling internationally to assist with the installation of new track surfaces, equine arenas and polo fields providing guidance on drainage, footing and material composition to ensure safety for horses and riders.
“We are thrilled and fortunate to bring Javier back to Canterbury Park to manage our racing surfaces,” company CEO Randy Sampson said. “He is recognized as one of the top professionals in his field and his record of racetrack safety is impeccable.”
Barajas, a native of Mexico, grew up in Chicago. He began accumulating his more than 40 years of experience at the age of 13, learning track maintenance from his father who tended to the turf course at Arlington Park. The role of track superintendent is akin to a groundskeeper in baseball, demanding long hours and constant supervision to keep the surface safe and viable throughout a summer that will include long hot spells and torrential rains. Barajas will oversee a track crew that often maintains and reconditions the dirt track 18 hours each day using tractors and harrows to fine tune the track for the racing programs as well as daily training of the horses.
“I look forward to returning to Canterbury Park to work with a racing team that is dedicated to safety and innovation,” Barajas said. “Canterbury Park has a great reputation in the industry.”
Canterbury Park’s 2023 racing season consists of 54 race days May 27 through Sept. 16.