12/13/2009 12:00AM

Santa Anita cancels Sunday training


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Santa Anita cancelled training on its main track Sunday after more than three inches of overnight rain led to inadequate draining on the synthetic main track.

"We just got battered," track president Ron Charles said. "From Saturday night into Sunday, it was almost three inches of rain. Earlier in the week, we were doing fine, but the last three inches was too much."

There were 21 workouts on the main track Saturday. Training was restricted to an infield training track Sunday. Rain fell from early Friday until early Sunday in Southern California, with heavy showers throughout the region early Sunday morning.

Charles said he hoped the track could reopen for training Monday. He said the track was closed Sunday "just as a precaution."

Santa Anita has had drainage trouble at times with its synthetic track since such a surface was installed in August 2007. The original Cushion Track brand surface installed in 2007 failed to drain properly, leading to the cancellation of 11 days of racing in the winter of 2007-08. The poor drainage led officials to overhaul the surface with Pro-Ride synthetic material in February 2008 and more extensively in summer 2008.

The lost day of training on Sunday was the first time training had been interrupted by wet weather since then. No racing days have been lost since February 2008.

Santa Anita opens its winter-spring meeting on Dec. 26. The meet runs through April 18. Charles said track maintenance crews worked on the track throughout Sunday.

"The surface is draining, but we still have some of the problem sand that Cushion Track put in and that slows the draining," Charles said. "This is the first day of training we missed since we installed Pro-Ride.

"This is an awful lot of rain for early December. We're looking at ways for the track to handle it a little better."

Some trainers said they will take a wait-and-see approach to the condition of the surface this week before waiting to work their horses.

"You could see it was trying to drain through, but there was so much water on it," trainer Mike Machowsky said. "Some spots were softer than others."