10/16/2007 11:00PM

Surface passes inspection

EmailARCADIA, Calif. - Santa Anita officials found no faults in the Cushion Track surface during an inspection and extensive renovation on Monday and Tuesday, which followed the cancellation of training on Saturday because of poor drainage after overnight rain.

Track president Ron Charles said additional inspections of the surface will take place on Monday and after the conclusion of the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting on Nov. 4.

Charles said last weekend that track officials were concerned about drainage in an area near the quarter pole and the finish line. Executives with Cushion Track, the English manufacturer of the course, arrived Sunday to participate in the inspection.

Santa Anita had approximately a third of an inch of rain last Saturday before training was canceled, Charles said. The next day, the track was fine, he said.

"All of the horsemen thought it was the best track we had," he said.

Santa Anita hasn't been watering the track, but it may start this week.

"We are looking at the possibility of putting down some water on the track, which might make it a little kinder," Charles said. "The water seemed to help."

During the inspection on Monday and Tuesday, the seven-inch-deep synthetic track surface was turned over, or "ripped," to the depth of its asphalt base, Charles said.

"We really opened it up," Charles said. "We looked at the areas that are a concern and really ripped it. We mixed it and laid it back down. It certainly appears to be more consistent. We're going to be opening it back up, and we'll be testing certain areas next Monday."

Workout times on Wednesday were approximately a second slower than the previous Wednesday.

For example, there were 52 half-mile workouts on Wednesday with an average time of 49.38 seconds. On Oct. 10, there were 49 workouts with an average time of 48.59 seconds.

At five furlongs on Wednesday, there were 54 workouts with an average time of 1:02.10. On Oct. 10, there were 48 workouts with an average time of 1:00.22.

"The fact that it was slower this morning was because we went down to the asphalt," Charles said Wednesday.

The track's general manager, George Haines, said Santa Anita has saved approximately 130,000 gallons of water a day by not watering the track between races. He said that even if the track begins watering the surface, it will use far less water than it did on the conventional dirt track.

Hollywood Park has a Cushion Track surface, which was watered after training hours on a regular basis during the spring-summer meeting earlier this year. Del Mar has a Polytrack brand synthetic surface, which was not watered during the track's meeting, even though some horsemen argued that the track would have benefited from being watered.

Surf Cat ailing

Surf Cat, the winner of 7 of 14 starts and $687,420, was not pre-entered for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Monmouth Park on Oct. 26 because of an apparent respiratory infection, according to co-owner Marsha Naify.

Surf Cat underwent a blood test earlier this week to better diagnose his condition, Naify said. The results were not available early Wednesday, she said.

Surf Cat finished fifth in the Grade 2 Oak Tree Mile on turf on Oct. 7. He led to the final turn, but faded through the stretch to finish 4 1/2 lengths behind Out of Control.

"After the race, we did a blood test, and he had a high white blood cell count," Naify said. "The veterinarian said that he probably had a mild respiratory infection. He's been on antibiotics. We're waiting for the results of the second blood test."

Trained by Bruce Headley, and owned by Headley's wife, Aase, and Naify, Surf Cat, 5, has won four stakes. Earlier this year, he was a troubled second in the Grade 1 Triple Bend Handicap at Hollywood Park and second in the Grade 2 Pat O'Brien Handicap at Del Mar.

Naify said that Surf Cat may not start again until the Santa Anita winter meeting.

"We're very disappointed," she said. "We'll see how he does and we'll figure out his campaign going forward to 2008. I would suspect that it's probably going to be at least a month until he comes back.

"His campaign is definitely going to be Grade 1 races and we'll be very selective on the races. The idea would be to keep him healthy. The idea would be to get him ready for the Breeders' Cup."

The 2008 Breeders' Cup will be held at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting on Oct. 24-25.

Beresford to miss BC Juvenile

Beresford, who finished fourth in the Grade 1 Norfolk Stakes in his stakes debut on Sept. 30, will miss the Breeders' Cup Juvenile with an injury, trainer Dan Hendricks said.

Hendricks did not disclose the nature of the injury. He said the injury was detected on Monday after Beresford had been pre-entered in the BC Juvenile. Hendricks said that Beresford underwent X-rays earlier this week, but he had yet to receive a full report from veterinarians as of early Wednesday afternoon.

Owned by Thor-Bred Stable, Beresford has one victory in five starts, a one-mile maiden race at Del Mar on Aug. 31.

Speedy works for Cup hopefuls

Breeders' Cup hopefuls posted quick workout times over five furlongs at Santa Anita on Wednesday.

Dixie Chatter, a leading contender for the BC Juvenile and the winner of the Norfolk Stakes on Sept. 30, worked five furlongs in 59.20 seconds, the fastest time at the distance. Balance, a candidate for the BC Distaff, was timed in 59.40 seconds, the second-fastest time at the distance.

At Hollywood Park, Silent Name, who has been pre-entered for the BC Mile, worked six furlongs in 1:14.