05/22/2017 11:57AM

Tim Ritvo to stay at Santa Anita for a while

Shigeki Kikkawa
Tim Ritvo, chief operating officer of the Stronach Group, is looking at ways to improve business at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Tim Ritvo, the chief operating officer of the Stronach Group, the parent company of Santa Anita, said on Sunday that he plans to spend time in California in an effort to determine how to improve business at Santa Anita.

In a phone interview, Ritvo said he plans to arrive at Santa Anita this weekend.

“I want to spend more time out there like I should be,” he said. “I want to observe. There are no silver bullets and I can see what we can do to make things better.

“We’re going to come in and evaluate and see what’s been working and what needs help.

“I can dig into different issues.”

Ritvo is based in Florida where The Stronach Group owns Gulfstream Park. The company also owns Laurel and Pimlico in Maryland and Golden Gate Fields in Northern California. Ritvo spent time at Santa Anita last winter, but has largely been based at the company’s other tracks.

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Ritvo did not discuss in detail any potential changes that will be implemented at Santa Anita, but did say one leading concern is field sizes. The track lost a day of racing on April 27 because of a lack of entries.

Through Sunday, fields have averaged 7.29 runners per race at the spring-summer meeting, which began on April 14. The figure is down slightly from 7.59 runners per race during the winter-spring meeting, which ran from Dec. 26 to April 9.

By comparison, the 2015 spring-summer meeting averaged 7.84 runners per race, a figure that fell to 7.26 runners per race during the 2016 spring-summer meeting.

Track officials estimated last month there are more than 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.

“We struggle on field sizes and we’ll look at that and see what we can steps we can take to make things better,” Ritvo said.

“Are we running too much? Every jurisdiction has its own nuances. You have to watch and understand.”