Santa Anita Park opens December 26.

Santa Anita Park opens December 26.


Santa Anita Hoping to Beat the Rain

Santa Anita officials said Cushion Track repairs are progressing.

Santa Anita Park’s renovation of its Cushion Track to improve drainage encountered further delays as rain threatened the Southern California area, but track president Ron Charles said Dec. 16 horses could be back training by Dec. 19.

The Arcadia, Calif., racetrack is scheduled to begin its winter-spring meet Dec. 26.

“We’ve done extensive testing,” said Charles the evening of Dec. 16, “and the asphalt is draining significantly better.”

The fine sand initially mixed into the Cushion Track at Santa Anita led to a plugging of the asphalt base during the fall Oak Tree Racing Association meet. Santa Anita officials closed the track in early December to clean the asphalt and mix coarser sand into the Cushion Track surface in order to alleviate the problem.

“We tried a number of different equations of sand, rubber, and fiber,” Charles said. “We put those down in a number of plots and worked them differently.”

California Horse Racing Board chairman Richard Shapiro asked representatives of Santa Anita and Cushion Track to report on the renovation progress at the CHRB’s Dec. 14 meeting. At that meeting, Charles explained the testing procedures being conducted on the surface so the track would both drain properly and be safe.

With the renovation project not yet completed, the rain in the forecast could potentially delay it because work crews would be unable to continue laying down the synthetic material.

“We are working around the clock to get as much done as possible (before the rain arrives),” Charles said.

Hollywood Park, another Southern California track with a Cushion Track surface, hasn’t experienced drainage problems.