09/27/2017 5:53PM

Santa Anita will implement single scratch time for autumn meet

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ARCADIA, Calif. – Santa Anita has enacted a raceday scratch time for its 19-day autumn meeting that begins on Friday, eliminating an early withdrawal stage the day before racing.

Previously, horses could be withdrawn the morning before raceday for reasons such as illness or injury. Another set of scratches were then announced on race morning, often for the same reasons. The new policy of a single scratch time is similar to what is in place at other tracks, according to the track’s vice president of racing, Rick Hammerle.

“Most people don’t have an [early] scratch time,” Hammerle said earlier this month. “It’s one of those things we’re going to try and see how it goes.”

For the autumn meeting, several other policies have been put in place related to entry times, the terms of when horses are claimed, and when horses can be shipped out-of-state.

 Entries received before 9:30 a.m. will be preferred if a race oversubscribes.

“The guy that enters on times should be preferred to a guy that enters later in the day,” Hammerle said. “It’s to try to get people to get their stuff in. It if simplifies things, we’ll stick with it.”

 An entry for a race that does not draw sufficient entries will stand the following entry day if the race is offered again. Trainers can opt out of that provision by contacting racing officials.

 An owner or trainer intending to run a Santa Anita-based horse out-of-state must complete a form indicating the reason. The policy is designed to reduce the number of horses leaving the grounds. Santa Anita cancelled four days of racing earlier this year because of insufficient entries.

“We prefer that they run here,” Hammerle said.

Hammerle acknowledged that top-class runners frequently are sent out of state for major stakes and immediately return to Santa Anita. He said such situations are not a major concern for track officials.

 To reduce the number of claimed horses leaving the state for other circuits, trainers must have been granted stalls for the current meeting, with exceptions allowed by Hammerle.

“If some new guy comes up, and they don’t have a stall, I’ll talk to the about the claim,” Hammerle said.

 Claimed horses will not be allowed to run out of state, unless for stakes races, for 45 days after being claimed or until the end of the meeting, whichever period is longer.

“It prevents some guy from coming from out of town and claiming and leaving,” Hammerle said. “We’re trying to keep a better handle on what we have. What we’re looking for is guys that are claiming horses, and a month later it’s running at Kentucky Downs, or wherever.”

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