01/16/2008 12:00AM

Santa Anita to lose two days


Santa Anita will lose two days of racing in its attempt to fix the drainage problem with its synthetic Cushion Track, although no decision has been made on when the work will begin, track president Ron Charles said Wednesday.

Charles said four days are needed to add polymer binding material and fibers to the track, which track officials believe will allow water to pass through the surface properly. Santa Anita races Thursdays through Mondays, so if work is begun on a Monday - the most likely scenario, Charles said - the track would lose racing on Monday and Thursday.

Charles said that the polymer and fibers could be available within 10 days. That means work could start as early as Monday, Jan. 28. The work must be done during dry weather.

The material being added is from the Australian synthetic surface Pro-Ride. The company's founder, Ian Pearse, worked with the University of Southern California last week on reformulating the Cushion Track, and subsequent test results were "dramatic and extremely encouraging," Charles said earlier this week.

Racing was canceled on Jan. 5-7 after heavy rain when the Cushion Track - a mix of sand, rubber, and natural and synthetic fibers - failed to drain properly.