01/30/2008 1:00AM

Track work could take extra day


The scheduled four-day maintenance project on the Santa Anita main track next week could extend to a fifth day and cost the track another day of racing, track officials have told horsemen.

Santa Anita has already canceled live racing next Monday and Thursday (Tuesday and Wednesday are dark) and was scheduled to resume racing Friday, Feb. 8. But in a memo sent to trainers earlier this week, track officials said that racing was “possible” next Friday, but may not be conducted until Saturday.

Santa Anita will add polymer and fibers from the synthetic track Pro-Ride to its Cushion Track surface in hopes of fixing the track’s drainage problem. Cushion Track is a mixture of sand, rubber, and fibers coated in wax.

The track lost seven days of racing in January because the Cushion Track failed to properly drain after two significant rainstorms. The lost days were Jan. 5-7 and last Thursday, Friday, Sunday, and Monday.

Santa Anita officials are anxiously watching the weather forecast for Sunday, hoping that potential rain does not interfere with racing.

Track superintendent Richard Tedesco described the forecast as “a little shaky.”

According to Weather.com, the forecast for Sunday calls for a 40 percent chance of rain.

“It won’t be huge,” Tedesco said of the amount of rain. “I don’t want anything.”

The Santa Anita main track was closed to training for most of last week. Trainers made up for lost time on Wednesday.

There were 254 recorded works on the Santa Anita main track on Wednesday, including 95 at a half-mile and 89 at five furlongs.