10/24/2013 6:05PM

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.