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Santa Anita to address track drainage problem

November 29, 2007|Larry Stewart | Times Staff Writer

Santa Anita officials, looking to get to the bottom of a drainage problem with the new synthetic Cushion Track, will close it for training for about a week in order the test and adjust the existing material.

The Arcadia racetrack announced Wednesday that the main track will be closed after Monday morning's training sessions and probably will remain closed until Dec. 10.

Santa Anita's winter meeting begins Dec. 26.

"It's good they are addressing the situation now rather than closer to the start of the meet," trainer Kathy Walsh said.

The new track was installed at a cost of more than $10 million during the summer.

The drainage problem became evident during a rain before the opening of the Oak Tree meeting Sept. 26. That meet ended Nov. 4.

Santa Anita President Ron Charles said he is confident the problem can be rectified so that rainwater will drain through the seven inches of sand and two inches of porous asphalt.

"It's critical that we go into our winter meet knowing that when it rains, the track drains vertically and allows us to be back racing on a safe surface in a very short period of time," Charles said.

With the closure of the main track, some trainers will ship their horses to Hollywood Park to work on the Cushion Track there and others will use Santa Anita's training track located inside the turf course.

"Santa Anita has been super about this," trainer Howie Zucker said. "They are picking up any additional expenses."


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