07/01/2016 1:56PM

With no turf racing, fields are shrinking

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ARCADIA, Calif. – Since turf racing ceased here on June 19, field sizes have fallen sharply.

For the five racing days from June 23 through Thursday, fields averaged 6.71 runners. For the entire spring-summer meeting, which began May 5, fields have averaged 7.44 runners. The corresponding meeting in 2015 had an average field size of 7.84 runners. The winter-spring meeting, which ran from late December to early April, averaged 8.1 runners per race.

Track officials are hoping for a bump in entries in the final days of the meeting, which ends July 10. Del Mar begins its summer meeting July 15, and some horses could run during the final week of the Santa Anita meeting rather than the early weeks at Del Mar.

Sunday’s nine-race program will not help the average. There are 58 horses entered. The largest field is in the ninth race, the $75,000 Southern Truce Stakes, which drew eight runners.

There is racing on Monday for the Fourth of July holiday before racing resumes for the final three days of the meeting July 8-10.

New sod was installed on the turf course in June, and the course will not be used again until the start of the autumn meeting on Sept. 30. Racing on the hillside turf course ceased on June 5 and on the oval portion of the course on June 19 to allow for the new surface to be installed.