01/02/2008 1:00AM

Cushion Track may replace Santa Anita surface

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Cushion Track Footings, the company that installed the racing surface at Santa Anita, said in a release Wednesday that it will install a new surface at the end of the Santa Anita meeting if it can’t solve the drainage problems that have plagued the track since it was installed last summer.

Santa Anita, which has been running tests in an effort to determine the reasons for the drainage problems since before the current meet began on Dec. 26, is girding for heavy rainfall later this week.

The company acknowledged that “Cushion Track experts have thus far failed to come up with a solution for the failure of the synthetic surface at Santa Anita Park to drain properly.”

The release, citing Paul Harper, technical director for Cushion Track Footings, said that the Santa Anita Cushion Track was designed to withstand temperatures up to 110 degrees, and that has probably contributing to the drainage problems.

“The focus on the high temperatures was in hindsight a mistake as this has almost certainly compromised the drainage characteristics of the surface,” the release said.

Cushion Track Footings installed the racing surface at Hollywood Park in 2006, and there have been no drainage problems there.