According to Ian Pearse, founder of Australian based Pro-Ride, whose synthetic polymer and binder is being blended into the troubled Cushion Track synthetic surface, the initial timeline of starting Jan. 27 and completing Feb. 7 was jeopardized because the track was still wet from the heavy rain Jan. 27, which forced cancellation of live racing that day.
“We expected to make substantial progress starting late Sunday (Jan. 27),” Pearse said. “We began amending the track, but the uneven drainage left it very wet in places and drier in others. The binder and polymer application is the most crucial piece of the renovation puzzle, and it cannot be done properly unless the surface is consistent, which delayed the initial application of the polymer until Monday.”
Santa Anita President Ron Charles said, “We know and deeply regret that the lost days have inconvenienced many horsemen and fans. At this point, as painful as it is to everyone to miss another day, an extra 24 hours is absolutely necessary to make sure that we allow Pro-Ride the time to complete this massive project according to their exact specifications. Our track crews have been working from 7 a.m. until after midnight every day, and will continue to do so until we get this finished.
“We will definitely race on Saturday (Feb. 9),” Charles continued. “Ian agrees, and is very confident that the process is going well now. The portions of track that have been completed so far are as good as we expected. We have become increasingly encouraged that this new surface is going to be what we had hoped — a good, consistent and kind surface that we all believe will drain properly for the rest of the meet.”
Santa Anita will remain open for simulcast wagering through Feb. 8, with free general admission offered to all attendees.
Santa Anita has a pair of grade I stakes scheduled for Feb. 9, the $250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at one mile, and the $250,000 Santa Maria Handicap for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles. First post time is 12:30 p.m PST.
Santa Anita’s winter/spring meeting runs through April 20.