09/02/2009 12:00AM

California wildfire drops ash on Santa Anita


A raging wildfire that has engulfed more than 140,000 acres continues to burn in the mountains to the north of Santa Anita Park.

The fire is primarily on the mountain range on the other side of the racetrack, above Pasadena, and has led to poor air quality and a build-up of ash in the neighborhoods surrounding the racetrack. The fire has threatened the historical Palomar Observatory and numerous television and radio transmitters visible from the racetrack.

Firefighting conditions were helped by slightly cooler temperatures and minimal wind on Wednesday.

"There was a little bit of ash on your car, but it was nothing compared to the people who are up [in the fire area]," trainer Paddy Gallagher said.

Santa Anita's main track reopened for training on Tuesday after an eight-day maintenance, which limited training to an infield training track. As a result, some trainers conducted limited training because of the maintenance schedule and weather conditions. Wednesday, there were only 18 recorded works on the training and main tracks, compared to 31 on Tuesday.

"The worst air quality was last Friday and we weren't opened on the main track," track publicist Mike Willman said Wednesday. "The air quality is not that bad today. I can see the mountains."