11/27/2007 12:00AM

Santa Anita track needs work

EmailINGLEWOOD, Calif. - An already crowded stable area at Hollywood Park figures to get a little tighter in the upcoming week because Santa Anita is making plans to close its main track to try and figure out why its newly installed Cushion Track surface is not draining properly.

Ron Charles, the president of Santa Anita, on Tuesday said, "A decision will be made in a couple of days on what to do and when to do it," but indicated that the work would likely be done next week and the racing surface would have to be closed.

Santa Anita is scheduled to open on Dec. 26 for its winter racing season, a meeting that often has to deal with inclement weather.

Synthetic surfaces, such as Cushion Track, were supposed to be weather-proof, but Santa Anita - which installed Cushion Track during the summer - had trouble with how the track drained following rain in late September, prior the opening of its Oak Tree meeting. Since then, numerous tests have been done on the surface, but the problem with drainage has continued, Charles said.

"We're not satisfied with the way it's draining," Charles said. "We've brought in a number of soil preparation experts. We want to get to the bottom of this. We want to do it and we want to do it right.

"Right now, we've been doing our own testing so we can be comfortable knowing what's wrong and how to remedy it. Is it the sand? Is it how it's coated with the wax? We have to have a scientist tell us - add this material, and not only will it drain, but it will be a good surface. We've alerted the trainers so they can make arrangements to use the training track here for a period of time."

Some trainers already have moved horses to Hollywood Park, which also has Cushion Track. According to Martin Panza, Hollywood's racing secretary, Hollywood Park has a different type of sand as a component of its Cushion Track than the sand used by Santa Anita.

Sugar Shake preps for Bayakoa

Sugar Shake, back in California following a summer and fall campaign in New York and Kentucky, worked a half-mile in 48.20 seconds on Tuesday morning at Hollywood Park in preparation for the Grade 2, $150,000 Bayakoa Handicap on Saturday.

Sugar Shake won the Grade 1 Santa Maria and Grade 2 El Encino at Santa Anita earlier this year. She most recently captured the Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm at Aqueduct.

"She's been very consistent," said her trainer, Bobby Frankel. Speaking of her race in the Personal Ensign at Saratoga, he added, "She's only run one bad race, and that was when she broke from the 1-hole and rushed up when she was going a mile and a quarter."

The Bayakoa, at 1 1/16 miles for fillies and mares, is also expected to attract Grain of Truth, Lavender Sky, Romance Is Diane, Sohgol, Strong Faith, Swiss Current, and Tough Tiz's Sis, who was seventh in the Breeders' Cup Distaff in her last start.

Hystericalady, who was second in the Distaff, was nominated to the Bayakoa and was assigned top weight, but will pass the race.

"I'm going to wait with her," Jerry Hollendorfer, the trainer of Hystericalady, said Tuesday morning at Hollywood Park. "After I got her back to Golden Gate, she didn't handle the Tapeta track there like I wanted her to."

Double Action back on synthetic for Underwood

Even with Hystericalady bypassing this weekend, Hollendorfer still will try to capture a Hollywood Park stakes. He will send out Double Action on Sunday in the Grade 3, $100,000 Vernon O. Underwood at six furlongs.

Double Action was fifth on a sloppy, sealed track at Monmouth in the Select Stakes on the Breeders' Cup undercard on Oct. 27. He won the Pirate's Bounty on Del Mar's Polytrack surface this past summer. Michael Baze, who rode Double Action at Monmouth and Del Mar, has the mount Sunday.

"Mike said the horse just wouldn't put out at Monmouth," Hollendorfer said. "I'm not making an excuse, because everybody had to deal with the same thing that day. He ran well on the synthetic at Del Mar, so that's why I want to keep him in Southern California."

Hollendorfer still has his main base in Northern California, but now has close to 40 stalls at Hollywood Park, where his string is overseen by assistant Dan Ward.

In addition to Double Action, the Underwood field is expected to include Bushwacker, Council Member, Greg's Gold, In Summation, and Quinton's Fleet.

On Trust or Malibu next for Johnny Eves

Johnny Eves, who set a track record of 1:14.03 for 6 1/2 furlongs last Sunday, will make his next start in either the $100,000 On Trust Handicap on Dec. 22 or the Grade 1, $250,000 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita on Dec. 26, trainer Jay Robbins said.

"The On Trust is against older horses, but it's for Cal-breds only," Robbins said. "I'd like to see if he can take on the best 3-year-olds."

The Malibu, exclusively for 3-year-olds, is at seven furlongs. The On Trust is at 7 1/2 furlongs.

* Maimonides, the highly regarded 2-year-old Vindication colt who has been off since the Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga, worked a half-mile in 48.20 seconds at Santa Anita on Tuesday morning for trainer Bob Baffert.