04/26/2017 2:50PM

Santa Anita officials, horsemen to discuss entry issues

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ARCADIA, Calif. – With the cancellation of racing at Santa Anita on Thursday because of insufficient entries, track and racing officials plan to meet in an effort to avoid a similar circumstance through the end of the spring-summer meeting on July 4.

The track announced last Sunday that there would be no racing Thursday because there were not sufficient runners for eight-race programs on Thursday and Friday. Instead, there will be nine races on Friday only.

Track senior vice president Joe Morris said Wednesday that the field size situation is a concern.

“The entries are lighter than I would have liked,” he said. “We’ve got to get a conversation started.

“I am worried about that. I didn’t expect that to happen.”

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Morris said there are approximately 2,800 Thoroughbreds in training in Southern California that race at Santa Anita – about 1,750 at Santa Anita, 750 at Los Alamitos, and 360 at the San Luis Rey Downs training center in San Diego County.

Through Sunday, after seven days of the spring-summer meeting, fields had averaged 7.34 runner per race, slightly less than the average of 7.59 runners at the winter-spring meeting, which ran from Dec. 26 to April 9 and was plagued by wet weather in the winter.

The first two Saturdays of the spring-summer meeting had 10-race programs, and Morris said he would prefer to continue carding 10 races on Saturdays if there are sufficient entries. He said revenue from the 10th race, run at a time when Santa Anita is the most prominent track in the nation, makes the additional race worthwhile.

“We’ll look at it draw by draw,” he said. “That’s our sweet spot. The handle is $1.1 [million] to $1.2 million.”

Cancellations caused by a lack of entries are rare at Santa Anita. The track did not run the final three Wednesdays of its 2010-11 spring-summer meeting because of insufficient entries. During that season, Santa Anita ran four days per week in January and February before adding Wednesdays for part of March.

Currently, racing is held four days on most weeks – from Thursday through Sunday.