'Insane' Rain Keeps Falling at Santa Anita

(from Santa Anita notes)
Santa Anita Park has been inundated with so much rain since opening day on Dec. 26 track superintendent Steve Wood is having trouble keeping up with it.

"It's insane," Wood said Monday morning. "We've had in excess of 2 ½ inches since after the last race Sunday and it's still coming down. It's going to rain all day, so before the night's over we could reach 36 inches since opening day."

Wood said normal rainfall for a full year at Santa Anita is 14 inches. Through 43 racing days this meet, there have been 23 "off" tracks.

"After tonight the heavy rain should be over," Wood said. "Then it should be showers and hopefully clearing on Wednesday. "

The President's Day feature race, the Buena Vista Handicap (gr. IIT) was moved from the turf to the main track. Seven horses scratched, leaving a field of six.

Trainer Mel Stute said the rain is unprecedented in his memory.

"I wasn't training at the time but I remember in 1938 or 1939 we had a horrible storm," the 77-year-old trainer said. "We didn't have a freeway then and nobody could get here.

"That's about the last time I remember anything close to this. Weather like this messes up training, it really does. It makes it very tough. But," he added with a chuckle, "it probably helps my horses because I have to give them a little time off."

Eddie Logan, the 94-year-old who operates Santa Anita's shoeshine stand outside the racing office said, "I've been coming here for 72 years and never saw this much water."