Weather Complicates Santa Anita Footing Switch

Rain has further delayed renovation of the Cushion Track at Santa Anita Park.

Horses were unable to use the main track Dec. 19, when track officials had hoped to finish the project to address drainage problems with the surface. They had hoped horses could work on the surface a week before the Dec. 26 start of the winter/spring meet.

It isn't known when horses will be able to train on the main track, though officials are hoping for Dec. 21. Rain is forecast again for Dec. 20, and the maintenance crew the morning of Dec. 19 was working to dry the track so additional work could be completed.

The extended local forecast calls for mostly sunny or sunny conditions through the weekend of Dec. 22-23.

"We're not going to put horses on the track until it is safe," said George Haines, Santa Anita's vice president and general manager. "The rain caught us in the middle of work."

Crews had been working to get as much work completed as possible before the rain. "We expected three-quarters of an inch of rain, and we got an inch-and-a-half," Haines said.

Haines said he was unable to speculate on when the track might reopen until the maintenance crew could get the equipment on the track to mix in the additional materials. Santa Anita had removed the Cushion Track surface to wash the asphalt base so that it would drain properly.

The surface has been laid back down, but coarser sand and additional fiber and wax was being mixed into the Cushion Track before the rain occurred. Santa Anita had conducted several tests to determine the optimum mix.

The dirt Santa Anita training track is open, and horses are also being shipped to work across town at Hollywood Park, which will finish its fall meet Dec. 22.

(Originally published at  

About the Author

Tracy Gantz

Tracy Gantz is a freelance writer based in Southern California. She is the Southern California correspondent for The Blood-Horse and a regular contributor to Paint Horse Journal, Paint Racing News, and Appaloosa Journal.

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