The main track being sealed at Santa Anita Park

The main track being sealed at Santa Anita Park

Santa Anita Park

Heavy Rain Forces Santa Anita to Cancel March 22 Racing

Flash-flood advisories were issued in several California counties Thursday.

Santa Anita Park cancelled its March 22 card because of ongoing heavy rain in Southern California and most—if not all—of the races washed away could be rescheduled for future dates.

John Perrotta, Santa Anita's vice president of operations, said the decision to cancel the Thursday races was primarily made for safety reasons. The impact of scratch-shortened fields and preparing the Santa Anita main track for weekend racing also factored in. The National Weather Service issued flash-flood advisories for several California counties Thursday, including Los Angeles County, and 15 horses of 67 entered were reported as scratched when the cancellation was announced.

"It was in the interest of everybody's safety. There is a dire prediction for weather the rest of the day and a lot of trainers had scratched already," Perrotta  said. "We also had to look at protecting the track for the weekend and we had to do it early rather than late. If we open up the track and the huge storm that is expected comes, then we're screwed for the weekend."

Santa Anita racing secretary Rick Hammerle said the eight cancelled races should be rescheduled and races could be added to cards March 25, March 29, and March 30.

"Our goal is to bring back every race in the next few racing days," Hammerle said.