The cancellation of the cards for Jan. 27-28 means that racing at Southern California's premiere venue has been voided for four of the past five days. The synthetic Cushion Track racing surface has been unable to handle rain and drain properly.
The weather forecast calls for rain and possible thunderstorms the afternoon of Jan. 27 and more rain Jan. 28, prompting the decision. Santa Anita had already lost three days Jan. 5-7, bringing to seven the number of days the track has not been able to race since the meeting began Dec. 26.
Track management plans to add material from Pro-Ride Racing of Australia that includes a liquid binder to the Cushion Track mixture. Officials have expressed confidence that the project will fix the drainage issues.
“We plan to race Thursday through Sunday of this coming week (Jan. 31-Feb. 3) and then close the track Sunday night,” said Ron Charles, president of Santa Anita.
Following that closure, the Pro-Ride material is scheduled to be added, if the weather cooperates. The track will reopen as soon as that process is complete, probably for racing either Friday, Feb. 8, or Saturday, Feb. 9. Charles said that the track will be re-leveled Jan. 29-30 so that it has a consistent depth.
“This is so much more scientific,” Charles said. “The track has to be absolutely straight across so that the material will be consistent going down and we can get it absolutely right.”
The $250,000 Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I) for older fillies and mares at seven furlongs, originally scheduled Jan. 27, is to be made up on Feb. 2, track spokesman Mike Willman said.