12/10/2007 1:00AM

Santa Anita track repair taking longer

EmailSanta Anita will not resume full training on its synthetic main track until next Monday or Tuesday while work continues to repair a drainage problem, the track's president, Ron Charles, said on Sunday.

Horses have not trained on Santa Anita's main track since Dec. 5, a day after the renovation project began. The track had drainage problems with its Cushion Track brand synthetic track through the fall. The course was installed last summer.

The drainage problem became so severe on the weekend of Dec. 1-2 that the main track was not used for morning training because of a wet surface.

Santa Anita officials had hoped the renovation project would be finished earlier this week, but it will take twice as long as expected, Charles said. So far, the asphalt base on the inside half of the track has been washed of fine sand and wax, and the cleaning of the outside half of the track is under way.

"We've cleaned the inside half with water," Charles aid. "We're spraying the water and using it as a force to clean the wax. There seems to be a confidence level that we've found the right formula to get it right."

Charles said that recent rain and a deliberate cleaning process "has slowed us down."

He said that a coarser sand, as well as wax, fiber, and rubber, will be added to the synthetic track's composition as it is replaced. That process has also added time to the renovation project, he said.

The absence of main-track training at Santa Anita has increased activity during morning training on the main track at Hollywood Park. On Sunday, there were 280 recorded works on the Hollywood Park main track, nearly double a typical day.

To accommodate trainers based at Santa Anita, the track has extended training hours on its infield training track and subsidized horsemen who send horses to Hollywood Park for workouts.

Charles said that he does not envision the current project having an adverse effect on the start of the winter-spring meeting on Dec. 26. "We think horses will be back on" by Monday, he said. "We don't see any problems as far as the opening of our meeting."