Santa Anita Park will shake up its racing schedule this winter in what it says is an effort to stimulate on-track business.
For the winter/spring meet that begins Dec. 26 and ends April 20, 2008, the Los Angeles Turf Club will race Thursdays through Mondays rather than Wednesdays through Sundays. Other tracks such as Fair Grounds and Gulfstream Park race many Mondays from January through March.
“While our on-track business has improved significantly on weekends and in particular on our big days, we feel strongly that we need to do something to stimulate business on our regular weekdays,” Santa Anita president Ron Charles said in a statement. “We have sought the opinions of a significant cross-section of our customers, and based upon the feedback we have received from them and others in the industry, we believe racing on Mondays during this meet is something well worth trying.
“Additionally, we feel strongly that our product is going to be very well received around the country on Mondays. We feel that we need to try this; that to just to continue to operate with the status quo is unacceptable, given the fact that on weekdays, our on-track business has been slow.
“We are hopeful that by tweaking the work week in this way, we can draw more people on track, while doing very well out-of-state.”
Charles also indicated Golden Gate Fields, like Santa Anita owned by Magna Entertainment Corp., would be racing live on Mondays.
Santa Anita will invest heavily in promoting Monday racing, including free general admission on Mondays throughout the meet, officials said. On-track handicapping contests will be offered each Monday, and Thoroughbred Club members will be offered free box-seat accommodations on Mondays, on a first-come, first-served basis.
With the exception of opening week, Santa Anita will be dark on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. First post time Wednesday, Dec. 26, is noon. Santa Anita will be dark Dec. 27, and will reopen for a four-day week from Dec. 28-31. Regular weekday first post time will be at 1 p.m. PST. First post on weekends is slated for noon.