10/24/2013 7:05PM

Santa Anita considering a break during long 2013-14 meet


ARCADIA, Calif. - The marathon Santa Anita meeting from Dec. 26, 2013 through June 29, 2014, is likely to have a brief break in April and could include twilight racing in its final months, the California Horse Racing Board was told at its monthly meeting on Thursday.

Track president George Haines did not go into detail about the plan, citing pending discussions among track executives. Later on Thursday, track chairman Keith Brackpool said that a mid-April break of 12 calendar days is being considered for the Santa Anita meeting, along with mid-afternoon post times on Fridays beginning in late April.

The season could be divided into two meets. As an example, Brackpool said that the winter-spring meeting could end on Sunday, April 13, with the spring-summer portion of the meeting beginning on Friday, April 25. Under that scenario, there would no racing for a four-day period from Thursday through Sunday, April 17-20, and on Thursday, April 24.

“It would be five (fewer) days of racing, but it would be a 12-day break,” Brackpool said.

Brackpool said Friday post times in the second part of the meeting could be 3 or 3:30 p.m., allowing for racing to run until 7 or 7:30 p.m.

“I think what we would do on the first year is try it on Fridays,” he said of twilight racing. “I think it would be fun. We could adjust as we go through.”

The idea of a springtime break in the racing schedule was endorsed by racing board chairman David Israel.

“I think taking a break is an interesting concept,” Israel said. “It would rest the racetrack.”

The racing board did not approve Santa Anita’s application for its 2013-14 meeting, saying information provided to the board was incomplete. Specifically, Santa Anita was told to provide further data on expected purses for the entire six months, incorporating the late April to late June period previously raced at Betfair Hollywood Park, and to provide a more thorough report on marketing plans. Hollywood Park will cease racing after its upcoming autumn meeting.

Santa Anita has yet to publish a stakes schedule for the extended meeting. Haines said the track “wants to make sure the stakes schedule is in accordance with Los Alamitos and Del Mar, so it’s continuous throughout.”

Los Alamitos will run a two-week meeting in early July, followed by the traditional summer meeting at Del Mar from late July to early September.

* After a contentious debate regarding confidentially agreements between racetracks, and one split vote, the racing board voted unanimously 6-0 to give final approval to Southern California racing dates for 2014 and 2015.

The racing board had confirmed the dates in September, but at Thursday's meeting, the board initially voted 3-3 to not take action. After further discussion, another vote was taken and the measure was approved by a vote of 6-0.

* Brad McKinzie of Los Alamitos said the track’s expansion from five-eighths of a mile in circumference to a mile is progressing. He said that environmental reports are being reviewed by the city of Cypress, where the track is located.

“We hope to be moving dirt shortly,” McKinzie said.

Los Alamitos will house up to 500 Thoroughbreds when Hollywood Park is closed on Feb. 1. McKinzie said the Los Alamitos barn area could be ready in mid-January. The track expansion could be completed by January.

* The racing board banned the use of the anabolic steroid stanozolol.

Stanazolol will not be allowed to appear in post-race tests from Dec. 26. Since the steroid has a withdrawal time of 45 to 60 days, trainers will be directed to cease use immediately, or have their horses placed on a veterinarian’s list for 60 days, the board voted.

* The racing board approved a license for a mini-satellite at the Ocean’s 11 card club in Oceanside, Calif. The card club is located approximately 15 miles north of Del Mar, and is adjacent to Interstate 5.

Card club officials told the racing board it hopes to open its mini-satellite by late November.

* Approval of an application from Los Alamitos for its 2014 Quarter Horse meeting was postponed a month so the track could hold conversations with harness racing promoters in Sacramento about the simulcasting of Thoroughbred racing from Australia during evening simulcasts.

Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
as long as santa anita sticks with this stupid policy of having a lightning fast track we will continue to see these catastrophic breakdowns.
Eric Singer More than 1 year ago
In Northern California I would love to see expanded meets or a mini meet during the year for both Pleasanton and Santa Rosa.
G More than 1 year ago
They are municipal tracks, they would have to go to synthetic surfaces if they were to have more than a total of 30 days of racing per CHRB. Plus the counties they are located in probably just can't afford to fund them to operate any longer than they do.
Quite A Dude More than 1 year ago
I believe the synthetic requirement long longer exists. Also, Pleasanton was offered more days but refused. As I understand it, they thought they would lose more money with a meet than what they currently receive in revenue as a Satellite and other revenue they earn renting out the facility for outside events..
Quite A Dude More than 1 year ago
What this article failed to mention is the CHRB has delayed for a month the decision to take a week away from Santa Rosa to race an additional week at Sacramento. Taking a week away from Santa Rosa is just about as stupid an idea as it gets.. Gee, let's take a week away from the "Saratoga of the West" to run another week at that fly infested hot house in Sacramento... No wonder Nor Cal racing is a disaster...
G More than 1 year ago
If anything they should take a week away from Stockton or Sacramento. The CHRB is why all of California racing is in such deep trouble, along with the elected officials who will not allow the tracks to have slots to compete with the casinos. I still find it amazing Santa Anita could not fix a flooding issue with the synthetic track so they got to go back to dirt.
JDS0810 More than 1 year ago
To all the people who doubt and are negative nancy's on here, and think that California racing is dead, listen to me when I say this. Santa Anita will NEVER close, EVER!!!!!
Joe More than 1 year ago
Your a genius JDS
RingForFrodo More than 1 year ago
Probably heard the same opinion about Solano Bay Meadows and Hollywood Park about 10 years ago or so.
David Robinson More than 1 year ago
nice to see such great reasoning behind an opinion. without your insight and analysis I don't know what we would do.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
I'm guessing you only bet 1-9 horses then when they win you say I told he would win.
Hail No More than 1 year ago
You really are a smart arse :-)
G More than 1 year ago
They will stay open as long as the CHRB stays in bed with Frank Stronach. What a bunch of bull, they force all off the major tracks to spend tens of millions of dollars on synthetic tracks and because Santa Anita could not find someone intelligent enough to stop the back stretch of the racing surface from having standing water when it rained they get to go back to dirt and insurance companies had to reimburse their $35 mil investment. Los Alamitos is just lucky they are not given enough dates to be considered a major track.
Hadrian Marcus More than 1 year ago
May the ghost of Hollywood Park (and the glory days of California racing) cast a shadow over Santa Anita, Los Alamitos and Del Mar.
Kram Hslew More than 1 year ago
Crack bunch, CHRB. Anytime you rubberstamp Stronach's puppets, money seems to get under the table. What a bunch of stooges with their hands wide open.
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
If it brings back bigger fields Im in. Started great with that Monster pick 5. What happen?
Glenn Canady More than 1 year ago
We need California Racing. And a new track or better public support we might be losing it very soon.
David Robinson More than 1 year ago
new track for what? you already have two top notch facilities less then a 100 miles apart. if anything, they need to redo the surface at del mar, but that's it. what is the need for a new track?
Glenn Canady More than 1 year ago
They need to stop all of this 4 day a week stuff. Get a hold of this Workmans Comp stuff and other crazy laws and give us 5 days a week of horse racing with 8 to 12 horse fields. We have been pushed long enough.
David Robinson More than 1 year ago
what dream land do you live in glenn? do you suggest they just snap their fingers and make that happen? if you want full fields, then you better be prepared for less races, not more. and what is the dire need for five days a week? are you jonesing that much from sunday night to Thursday afternoon? the foal crop in this country goes down every year. what racing needs to do is cut their losses and downsize, not expand. cut more dead weight tracks like Hollywood and reduce the racing days and you will get full fields. I have been going to Hollywood since the 70's and will miss it, but it is an unnecessary track at this point that just takes up racing days. their closing is a plus for ca. racing as long as the los al expansion goes through and they can house those horses.
Mike B More than 1 year ago
Looks better organized and more cooperative than Florida at least. The three need to carve out their brands and niches, dates, routines, specialties. SA is the mainstay premier track--hard clay and speeds holds up....and yes, you gotta break up the monotony with 6 months. Fields on fumes today.How about after 5 months straight of racing. Could be three horse fields with the one left that can run winning. Los Al can be a nice year round lower level (7.5K below) TB track and a premier track for one meet. It should be a deeper, darker dirt for closers. Del Mar is the high purse, synthetic summer fun, specialty track, etc.