05/23/2008 12:00AM

Drainage problems reappear at Santa Anita


ARCADIA, Calif. - Santa Anita's synthetic main track failed to completely drain after a surprise storm dropped nearly two inches of rain on Thursday evening and early Friday. The rain left small pools of water in some places on the track and prompted some trainers to curtail training Friday morning.

The storm came less than a week before Santa Anita is scheduled to conduct an extensive test to simulate the effects of a three- to four-inch rainstorm on the surface, track president Ron Charles said. The test will be conducted after training concludes next Wednesday, and training will be canceled on Thursday and possibly Friday, Charles said.

"We're looking to see that water gets down to the asphalt and it drains through the asphalt," Charles said. "Getting two inches was a good test. With some additional work, we can have the racetrack in perfect shape for the Oak Tree meeting."

Santa Anita will host the Breeders' Cup on Oct. 24-25 during the Oak Tree meeting and again in the fall of 2009.

Santa Anita's synthetic track is a mix of Cushion Track material installed in August 2007 and Pro-Ride material that was added in early February after the track lost 11 days of racing when the surface failed to drain. Following the renovation to add polymers and fibers from Pro-Ride, Santa Anita had no further cancellations. The track had encountered only minimal rain until Thursday.

"We're still in the process of trying to get the kinks out of it," track superintendent Richard Tedesco said. "It's not 100 percent and we know that."

Tedesco estimated the track received 1 3/4 inches of rain in an 18-hour period ending at 9 a.m. on Friday, with more rain expected throughout the day. Hollywood Park, where racing was being conducted approximately 35 miles to the southwest, received virtually no rain.

There were small pools of standing water on the outside of the track near the quarter pole in hoof prints on Friday morning.

Horses exercised on the main track on Friday morning, though there were only five recorded workouts. Some trainers chose not to work horses.

Jack Carava sent out two horses for workouts. "I breezed a few on it and they went okay," Carava said. "It seems to be holding water on the outside. This feels like January. Other than holding a little water, it seems safe."

Trainer Ted West said "none of my exercise riders have complained about it."

Mike Machowsky canceled one workout and limited the 2-year-olds in his barn to tack-walking.

Other trainers were not as satisfied.

"It's got soft spots and it's really inconsistent," Jeff Mullins said.

Charles said Ian Pearse, the founder of Pro-Ride, will be present at Santa Anita for the water test next week. He said water will be applied "over a short period of time, which is kind of what we just got."