03/11/2016 8:21PM

Santa Anita cancels last three races Friday after downpour


ARCADIA, Calif. – Santa Anita canceled the final three races on Friday’s nine-race program after jockeys complained of excessive water on the backstretch following two hours of rain through the early afternoon.

Track senior vice president Joe Morris said the track sustained approximately an inch of rain in a 75-minute span between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Pacific. In the sixth race, a maiden special weight race at 6 1/2 furlongs, jockey Mario Gutierrez was unseated from Jamie Said No about 100 yards into the race. It was unclear whether Jamie Said No reacted to water or mud in his face or jumped tracks.

Gutierrez was taken to first-aid and released, track officials said. Jamie Said No was not hurt.

The other riders who participated in the sixth race discussed the condition of the track when they returned to the jockeys’ room, according to jockey Gary Stevens.

Stevens, who was scheduled to ride for the first time on Friday in the eighth race, said riders were worried about the condition of the course.

“The guys said there was a lot of standing water,” Stevens said. “We felt something might happen.

“It’s no one’s fault. We just got hit by Mother Nature.”

Jockeys, track executives, and stewards Grant Baker and Scott Chaney met for approximately 25 minutes before the cancellation was announced at approximately 4:20 p.m.

“It was a matter of the riders not wanting to ride,” said Baker. “The riders thought there was excessive water on the track and that that was an issue.”

The cancellation occurred a day before one of the biggest days of the winter-spring meeting. Saturday’s 11-race program has four graded stakes and is highlighted by the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap.

“It’s best to stop now and make sure we’re set for the big day,” Morris said. “We should be good tomorrow. We have no more rain coming. I’m more concerned about the turf. We should be okay on the dirt.”

The cancelled races were an $8,000 claimer at 5 1/2 furlongs, the $75,000 San Pedro Stakes for 3-year-olds at six furlongs, and a $30,000 claiming race for maidens at six furlongs. Racing department officials said they will decide this weekend whether to reschedule the San Pedro Stakes.

Because of the cancellation, the track paid off on some bets and canceled some bets that had yet to be completed. The $2 daily double from the sixth and seventh races was paid at $10.40 on sixth-race winner Peppermint Zip and all runners in the seventh race. The combination on the payoff was 2-all.

The $1 pick three that started with the fifth race was paid at $53 on fifth-race winner Wildfire Kid, Peppermint Zip, and all runners in the seventh. The combination on the payoff was 8-2-all.

Three multirace bets were refunded – the $1 pick three that began with the sixth race, the 50-cent late pick four that began in the sixth race, and the $2 pick six that began in the fourth race.