Defections of Del Mar and Keeneland back to dirt have stalled synthetic surfaces in the U.S.
Racing can't drop the ball on safety. read blog
While track officials and horsemen make their final decisions on the composition of Santa Anita's new dirt racing surface, crews are to begin removal of the existing Pro-Ride synthetic material Oct. 11.
One thing we do know is the synthetic surface installed at Santa Anita has been a mess from the start and has seen more facelifts than Joan Rivers. Read Blog
Santa Anita Park began repair work on its synthetic main track on July 26 and embarked upon significant scheduled maintenance of its stable area as well.
Ron Charles, who has served as president of Santa Anita's Los Angeles Turf Club since 2004, has resigned. His last day will be May 19.
Santa Anita has canceled its live program for Feb. 27 after heavy overnight rain hit the Arcadia track.
Live racing for Jan. 22 at Santa Anita has been cancelled due to continued wet conditions, but officials are optimistic that with a dry forecast in store for the weekend, racing will resume on Jan. 23.
At a meeting Jan. 7 at Santa Anita Park, about 40 trainers met to discuss problems with the track's Pro-Ride synthetic surface.
With five breakdowns, including three fatalities, in the first five days of racing, Santa Anita's synthetic surface has again come under the microscope.
Santa Anita Park dodged the rain, which hit Southern California Christmas day but left skies sunny for the traditional Dec. 26 opening day. A crowd of 33,112 attended, an increase of 9.8% over the 30,156 fans at the 2007 opener.
- By Ryan Conley
The federal lawsuit against Cushion Track and affiliates over the former synthetic racing surface at Santa Anita Park is geared to go forward after a judge recently denied most of the defendants' request for dismissal.
America once ruled the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I). But "quoth the raven, 'Nevermore.' " With a synthetic surface introduced for the first time this year, leveling the playing field for the Europeans, Raven's Pass, like Edgar Allen Poe's mysterious bird, came tapping at our chamber door...then busted it down.
Though champion Curlin may not have handled the synthetic racing surface as well as some of his European rivals did in the $5-million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), Santa Anita Park's Pro-Ride racing surface performed safely during the two-day World Championships Oct. 24-25.
Handle for the 25th Breeders' Cup World Championships was up 5.5% over last year's event, according to preliminary data released Oct. 26.
European trainers discussed the strengths of their Breeders' Cup contenders, the largest number from overseas since 1994. Several said they would not have made the trip if the main track had a dirt instead of a synthetic surface.
Sixties Icon, an invader from England, is the 2-1 morning line favorite for the inaugural Breeders' Cup Marathon Oct. 24 at Santa Anita. Six of his eight career victories have been scored at the Marathon's distance of 1 1/2 miles or longer. In 2006, he became a European classic winner, taking the Ladbrokes St. Leger (Eng-I) by 2 1/2 lengths.
Contrasting views on the future of synthetic tracks were expressed at the meeting of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities in Paris on Oct. 6, following the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) meeting at Longchamp.
- By Tracy Gantz
Five grade I races at Oak Tree the weekend of Sept. 27-28 gave the Pro-Ride synthetic surface recently installed at Santa Anita a workout.
Jerry Bailey said that any disadvantage suffered in the past by European horses on the dirt has been taken away with the introduction of a new synthetic surface for this year's Breeders' Cup.
- By Tracy Gantz
Oak Tree's opening day, Sept. 24, brought sweltering temperatures back to Southern California, almost as if by design to test the new Pro-Ride synthetic surface. The surface heated up, but after the day's six races over it (the other three being on turf), reviews were generally optimistic.
Several horses were out galloping on the renovated Santa Anita track surface Aug. 31. Training stables are just starting to ship in from Del Mar.
With the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita less than 10 weeks away, track president Ron Charles told the California Horse Racing Board that its new synthetic racing surface is nearly ready for the acid test.
Large piles of material dot Santa Anita's backside parking lot, as work continues on the overhaul of the track's synthetic surface. Repairs to the drainage system are expected to be finished soon, with the next step being the placement of the base grit layer, according to Ian Pearse, founder and president of Pro-Ride Racing Australia.
A cross-section of the racing industry addressed the New York Task Force on Retired Race Horses on the subject of synthetic surfaces at a one-day forum held July 29 at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Co. pavilion in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Santa Anita Park announced June 23 that its main track will undergo a complete overhaul beginning July 14, and will be reconstituted with a mixture of Pro-Ride synthetic material.
The operator of Santa Anita Park has filed a federal lawsuit against the original supplier of its troubled synthetic racing surface, claiming it has suffered at least $8.4 million in damages from improper installation and repair.
A two-day flooding of Santa Anita Park's synthetic surface is one of the final tests management plans before making a decision on the future of the main-track surface. Track president Ron Charles said the surface will be flooded following training hours May 28.
Now that the Santa Anita winter meeting has ended, work can begin in earnest on the choice of main-track surface. Following a comprehensive series of tests on the current main track, a decision is probable sometime in May, Santa Anita president Ron Charles said April 22.
Experts from all avenues of the racing industry presented statistics and opinions on synthetic surfaces and Santa Anita track president Ron Charles said the track will replace its Cushion Track as a six-hour special meeting called by the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) concluded Feb. 20.
Following an afternoon of inconsistencies in Santa Anita's reconstituted racing surface, the main track appeared to be back in shape the morning of Feb. 14. Trainers went from scratching horses late in the card Feb. 13 because of their concern to commenting that the track was the best it has been so far the next morning.
Following a test of several horses galloping over the backstretch, Santa Anita management has given the go-ahead to return to racing Saturday, Feb. 9. The track has been closed since Sunday, Feb. 3, for a renovation of its Cushion Track surface to fix the drainage problem that has plagued the track.
Santa Anita Park announced Feb. 7 that live racing will be canceled Feb. 8 due to a one-day delay in the last phase of its main track renovation. Racing is scheduled to resume Feb. 9.
Ian Pearse of Melbourne, Australia, who is receiving plenty of attention these days as the man expected to fix Santa Anita's troubled Cushion Track synthetic surface, answers questions about synthetic surfaces.
Ian Pearse of Pro-Ride Racing Australia stands ready to begin fixing Santa Anita's beleaguered Cushion Track surface as soon as the final race is completed Feb. 3.
Rain that hit Southern California before Santa Anita had a chance to apply new materials to its Cushion Track synthetic surface forced several more days of cancellations. Santa Anita lost Jan. 24, 25, 27, and 28 due to weather, but a 24-hour break allowed the track to host its half of the Sunshine Millions program Jan. 26.
Santa Anita cancelled its Jan. 25 card because rain again made the Cushion Track too wet to use. However, officials remain hopeful that the track can conduct its Jan. 26 Sunshine Millions card as scheduled.
The drainage problems of Santa Anita's Cushion Track coupled with two inches of hail that fell at 5 a.m. Jan. 24 has put the West Coast half of Sunshine Millions in serious doubt, according to track president Ron Charles. Santa Anita had to cancel its Jan. 24 card.
Synthetic material that includes a liquid binder will be added to Santa Anita Park's main surface in an effort to improve drainage, the Southern California racetrack announced Jan. 15.
Santa Anita officials, considering re-installing a dirt racing surface, have delayed a decision regarding whether to replace its synthetic track, which is plagued by continual drainage problems.
- By Tracy Gantz
After much deliberation, Santa Anita has chosen Cushion Track, the same surface as at Hollywood Park, for its synthetic track, it was announced May 23. The all-weather surface is to be installed this summer in time for the fall Oak Tree Racing Association meeting.
- By Tracy Gantz
Following reports that Santa Anita might request more time before installing a synthetic main-track surface, Santa Anita President Ron Charles announced Feb. 21 that Magna Entertainment Corp. is committed to installing such a surface this year.
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