12/01/2011 4:04PM

Santa Anita hit by windstorm

Amy Zimmerman
Strong winds toppled trees and caused damage to several barns at Santa Anita early Thursday morning.

Santa Anita Park suffered damage to its barn area and canceled simulcast wagering on Thursday after an overnight windstorm struck the area with high winds.

The track was with without electricity as of late morning Thursday. The pre-dawn storm, which was widely forecast, caused the collapse of the exterior walls of at least two stables where trainers Doug O’Neill and Tim Yakteen keep horses. Both trainers reported that their horses and staffs were not injured. O’Neill said he had no horses based at his Santa Anita stable, with his division across town at Hollywood Park.

The track also suffered damage to the mature trees in the paddock, and to trees on a path leading from the stable area to the receiving barn.

“We’re still assessing the damage,” the track’s president, George Haines, said. “We have damage to the barn area and minimal damage to the grandstand. It’s preliminary now. We just can’t tell. We’re in the clean-up process with the debris. We’re waiting for the power to come back on.”

The neighborhoods surrounding Santa Anita were badly affected, with numerous instances of road closures caused by damaged trees, power lines, and signage from businesses. More than 200,000 residents were without power, according to Los Angeles media reports.

Conditions were not expected to improve through Thursday, with forecasts of winds up to 50 miles per hour expected through the day and into Friday.

– additional reporting by Brad Free