THE SURFACE - TRACK. The surface should be formed of a soil that packs well and does not "cup," i. e., curl up when sprinkled. Clay, loam, gumbo, sandy loam, and muck are all good. If the natural soil is clear sand, it should be covered with a top dressing of clay or loam 3 to 4 inches deep, which is then thoroughly har rowed in.
Water is the first requisite to keep a track in good condi tion. If the track becomes too dry, it loses its elastic or "springy" condition, and becomes dusty; and therefore to keep it in proper condition, it should be sprinkled when dry. The sprinkler should deliver the water liberally and evenly in a fine spray.
The second requisite for proper maintenance is a good harrow. The proper time to harrow the track is after a rain or after sprink ling If the track is dry, harrowing unduly pulverizes the soil, causing it to lose its cohesive properties and become "rotten " or "dead." and "cuppy." Too frequent or too deep harrowing produces substantially the same result. The harrow should have many small sharp short teeth, so distributed that no two follow in the same line.
The implement of the next importance in the care of a race track is a leveler or "float." This consists of, say, five scantlings 2 inches by 4 inches by 16 feet set parallel to each other about 4 feet apart. On top of these are firmly spiked three planks 2
inches by 6 inches by 16 feet. The team is attached a little to one side of the center; and then as the frame is drawn over the track the clods are crushed, any slight depressions or gullies are filled, and any surplus loose earth and pebbles are worked to the outside of the track. It is important that the implement be large enough to cover considerable area, as otherwise it will follow the depressions of the surface, making them larger and deeper rather than filling them up; and it is also important that the outer end of the scraping edges may be unobstructed, so that any pebbles may be worked toward the outside of the track.
In the spring or after a severe storm which has washed consid erable loose earth down to the inside of the curves, it may be necessary to go over the track with a scraping grader (§ 142) to work the surplus material back to the outside and fill up the gullies. The frequent use of the scraping grader is rendered unnecessary by the continuous use of the leveler described above.