05/28/2010 12:00AM

Entries seem sufficient for future


The decision to cancel Wednesday's racing because of insufficient entries is seen by racing secretary Martin Panza as an isolated incident, and unlikely to occur again through the remainder of the spring-summer meeting, which runs until July 18.

"Anything is possible, but I wouldn't think so," he said of the possibility of future cancellations. "At some point, some of these stables that haven't started any 2-year-olds, they'll have to run."

Since Wednesday's program was canceled last Sunday, the track has drawn five programs -- Thursday through Monday. Thursday's program averaged 8.25 runners per race. From Friday through Monday, entries ranged from 71 horses entered for Friday's eight-race program, excluding five horses on the also-eligible list, to 96 horses entered on Monday's 10-race program.

Monday's holiday program will be the last card until next Friday, when the track begins a three-day racing week. In past years, the track may have tried to resume racing on Thursday, but the horse population no longer supports such an aggressive schedule.

"The three-day week should be helpful," Panza said.

Panza said he was disappointed that some stables have not been more active at the meeting, which began on April 21.

"We have a lot of trainers with a ton of stalls that aren't helping," he said. "That will change. They'll be getting phone calls next week. There is a ton of dead weight right now."

Through Thursday, the track had averaged 7.81 starters per race, a slight improvement over 7.65 starters per race through the same date at the 2009 meeting. The 2009 spring-summer meeting ended with an average of 7.94 starters.

Last year, the track canceled 10 days of racing after the meeting began because of insufficient entries. For this year's meeting, a more conservative approach was taken to the racing schedule, with two four-day weeks at the start of the meeting, next week's three-day schedule, and two four-day weeks at the end of the meeting.

"It was set up much better this year than last year," Panza said. "Last year, we got blindsided."

* Bonita Gould, 69, who worked in Santa Anita's marketing department for 26 years until her retirement in 2008, died on May 20 after a brief illness, the track announced earlier this week. A celebration of life will be held for Gould at Peppers Restaurant in Arcadia at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.