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Santa Anita

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  • Santa Anita

    Holy smokes. Racing cancelled two days in a row owing to the cushion track's inability to handle heavy rains. How ironic!

    There's talk too that some or all of the remaining dates may be moved to Hollywood Park (http://news.bloodhorse.com/viewstory.asp?id=42998)

    Wow. Just wow. I'm guessing there are more than a few out there.

  • #2
    There have been articles on this the last three days in the LA Times (you should be able to find them on the website, tho you may have to register or use BugMeNot.com). The problem is supposedly with the application rather than with the material itself. There was a quote in today's paper to the effect that they would still be running if they had their old dirt. The threat to move to HP is if the rain continues. That area has had something like 5" of rain since Friday nite, with more due tonite(*). According to the Santa Anita site (http://www.santaanita.com/) there was no racing today either and Monday is a wait and see proposition.

    (*)This may not seem like a lot of rain to those of you who live in areas with more porous soil, but things don't drain so well in these parts. That area probably gets 15-20"/year on average, tho most of it will be December-Feb.
    Last edited by Peggy; Jan. 6, 2008, 08:25 PM. Reason: added link to paper
    The Evil Chem Prof


    • #3
      Monday (1/7) live racing cancelled too - Tues and Wed are dark days - so hopefully something will be worked out in the mean time for racing to resume on Thursday.

      The the top level of the track as per say isn't at fault, the installation base where it drains appears the be the culprit, the firm Cushion Track Footings did the install job. They'll be the ones (I assume) who will have to swallow the cost of digging the course back up at the end of the meet and replacing it.

      From last week's DRF articles:

      The company acknowledged that "Cushion Track experts have thus far failed to come up with a solution for the failure of the synthetic surface at Santa Anita Park to drain properly."

      The release, citing Paul Harper, technical director for Cushion Track Footings, said that the Santa Anita Cushion Track was designed to withstand temperatures up to 110 degrees, and that has probably contributing to the drainage problems.

      "The focus on the high temperatures was in hindsight a mistake as this has almost certainly compromised the drainage characteristics of the surface," the release said.
      The temp focus seems to be a bit of a redherring. Del Mar gets warmer [Polytrack/Martin Collins] and Dubai [Tapeta Footings] has exceeded 109 degrees F

      In fact with Dickinson's Tapeta, it has the following weather record and still were operational - I assume after the Hurricane's went through :

      Since March 1998, our track has provided excellent footing through:
      23 Periods of drought
      5 Hurricanes (Floyd, Isabel, Charley, Ivan, Jeanne)
      12 inces of rain in 12 hours/Hurricane Floyd
      22 Floods
      Snow and Ice Accumulations
      Temperatures ranging from over 110 to -17 degrees


      • #4
        Temperature was cited as the culprit during the dressage show at Del Mar in April. The footing got worse as it got warmer. There have been shows (as well as racing) there since April and I don't recall hearing about any complaints about the footing with respect to temperature so maybe it's fixed now?
        The Evil Chem Prof


        • #5
          I was in Lexington over the weekend looking at stallions when this very subject came up.

          This particular farm also has a training track were they installed the synthetic surface. The situation of Santa Anita was brought up and apparently, it is a known fact, they (Santa Anita) tried to cut corners during the installation...thus, it was installed improperly, not as recommended.

          Synthethic surfaces must be worked, tilled and if the correct materials are not used in the correct way and/or amounts there will be issues with drainage, clumping, weather related (temp) etc...

          That is an extremely expensive surface to install so why in the heavens would you risk having issues such as these by cutting corners to save a few $$$'s on the installation? I think they have a lost a lot more over the past few days than they ever saved on the installation.

          Good business decision!
          Last edited by trakama; Jan. 7, 2008, 07:29 PM. Reason: typo/spelling


          • #6
            Who wants to join my poll about Baffert moving east? I say next year (I think that is when his youngest son graduates high school).


            • #7
              Baffert's youngest is like 3 or 4. Don't you remember in the Breeders Cup winners cirlce? It was a bit annoying.
              Anyway, I wouldn't be suprised especially given his success last fall. But he is so CA.


              • #8
                Originally posted by miss_critic View Post
                Baffert's youngest is like 3 or 4.
                As I recall reading somewhere his youngest tyke, Bode, only turned 3 last month. His other four children vary in age but are much older.

                Baffert has been successful enough at Saratoga and Kentucky that I don't view him as being just a California / 'Left Coast' guy


                • #9
                  You are correct - he does have a very little one, but moving them at that age really does not count. Out of the older ones, 2 go to college in AZ, one I believe is still in High School.

                  He is such a nice guy, I hung out with him for some morning works at Santa Anita, and when he saw me at Saratoga Sales he invited me for a drink with one of his owners. When he asked what I was up to, I was hesitant to reply 'uh - hot walking'.

                  The purses are good in CA, but I think he will start splitting strings.


                  • Original Poster

                    The saga continues...harsh kickback --a result of having added material to the footing conducive to drainage-- is prompting jockeys to wear special safety visors:

                    from the BloodHorse:

                    CA Jocks Make Safety Visors

                    Jockeys in California are wearing plastic safety visors to protect their faces from harsh kickback as racing at Santa Anita continues despite the track’s surface problems.

                    The shields, which fit over the riders’ goggles and look similar to the visor portion of a motorcycle helmet, have been adopted by several members of the Southern California colony and are being manufactured as quickly as possible, said Jockeys’ Guild representative Darrell Haire...

                    “They’ve got a lot of coarse sand and rocks in the track, and we need something to protect our faces,” said (Garrett) Gomez. “The sand stings."

                    Some horses are reluctant to run into the stinging kickback as well, he said.
                    Looks unwieldy...and must be difficult to see through after a while.


                    • #11
                      An interesting discussion/commentary on the speed that has been produced at Santa Anita, despite the massive kickback and drainage problems:

                      DRF 1-15-08 Steven Crist commentary 'Broken Records'


                      El Gato Malo's mile in 1:33.37 in Saturday's San Rafael and Indian Blessing's seven furlongs in 1:19.89 in Sunday's Santa Ynez were the quickest such main-track times in Santa Anita's 74-year history. I don't think anyone's dense enough to think that this means Indian Blessing is really a faster racehorse than Spectacular Bid, who could manage only a lousy 1:20 flat back on Jan. 5, 1980, but people who don't understand how figures are made are up in arms that El Gato Malo got a Beyer Speed Figure of "only" 98 while Indian Blessing received a 91.


                      • #12
                        Equidaily.com beat me to it but there is an interesting suggestion in the LA Times that the Sunshine Millions might be held this year (for the CA portions) at Golden Gate Fields which would be nice. A good chance to show off that new track which sadly has had its share of injuries and breakdowns even with the Tapeta surface.

                        LA Times Jan 16, 2008 "Santa Anita says Cushion track will be repaired, not replaced"

                        regarding the fix to the track:

                        He said that a polymeric binder and fiber will be added to the top seven-inch layer of the Cushion Track to not only allow it to drain vertically, but also make it more consistent and easier on the horses.

                        Charles said it will take 10 to 12 days to produce the material and then, he estimates, four days to apply it.
                        regarding the Sunshine Millions:

                        One source said that if rain comes before the running of the Sunshine Millions races Jan. 26, which would be before the Cushion Track can be reformulated and repaired, those races might be switched to Golden Gate Fields. Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields are owned by Magna Entertainment.
                        And why the 'fix' of the track instead of starting from scratch?:

                        Charles said that the possibility of replacing the Cushion Track with dirt hit a number of snags. For one thing, finding 20,000 tons of high-quality dirt was unsuccessful.


                        • #13
                          So the rains have come again, the track has cancelled racing and now almost inexplicably they are saying how the California portion of the Sunshine Millions - to be held this weekend - might not happen at all. Are these people idiots?

                          Union-Tribune 1-25-08 "Rain clouds Santa Anita 'Sunshine' forecast"

                          Seriously - why did they mention GGF as an alternative at all (see article below) if they were going to shelve that smart idea and just "wing it" and hope for the best? Is anyone in CA racing actually making plans and executing them?

                          Originally posted by Glimmerglass View Post
                          LA Times Jan 16, 2008 "Santa Anita says Cushion track will be repaired, not replaced"

                          One source said that if rain comes before the running of the Sunshine Millions races Jan. 26, which would be before the Cushion Track can be reformulated and repaired, those races might be switched to Golden Gate Fields. Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields are owned by Magna Entertainment.


                          • #14
                            And, to update, it rained last night and more this morning. Not heavy, but frankly any rain at all is simply going to worsen track conditions. They haven't been galloping on the main track in the morning for the last couple of days. The weather forecast has been known since last weekend. This is crass management by Santa Anita and Magna.


                            • Original Poster

                              Originally posted by Glimmerglass View Post
                              So the rains have come again, the track has cancelled racing and now almost inexplicably they are saying how the California portion of the Sunshine Millions - to be held this weekend - might not happen at all. Are these people idiots?
                              I was wondering the same thing. 'What a display of colossal failure in decision making.


                              • #16
                                It appears that the suggestion of Golden Gate Fields was a quasi joke and not floated by Magna?

                                SF Chronicle 1-25-08 "Lack of sunshine may wash out the Sunshine Millions at Santa Anita"


                                The drainage problem surfaced during the heavy rains the first week of January, and officials from Cushion Track admitted making errors with the sand, fiber and wax combination that comprises the top of the track.

                                "The focus on the high temperatures (during Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting in early fall) was in hindsight a mistake as this has almost certainly compromised the drainage characteristics of the surface," Cushion Track technical director Paul Harper said earlier this month.

                                When he first became aware of Santa Anita's problem, Steve Specht, who trains McCann's Mojave, jokingly suggested the West Coast half of the Sunshine Millions should be moved to Golden Gate Fields. The Tapeta Footings synthetic surface at Golden Gate has drained effectively.

                                "I pushed to have it at Golden Gate; maybe they should have listened," said Specht, who also is at Santa Anita this week. "They know they got a major problem with this track, and horses have shipped in from all over the country, and they might have to cancel. It's a joke. This isn't a matter of trying to beat the other guy; it's a matter of will they even run. There is no miracle cure; it's a screwed-up mess."
                                Worth adding that the suggestions now of going to nearby Hollywood Park isn't likely feasible too - simply because they can't move the toteboard that quickly. Yes, folks its true they share the same toteboard and never thought about actually having to move it on a couple day's notice. Amazing!


                                • #17
                                  Live racing at Santa Anita cancelled for Friday Jan 25, 2008


                                  • #18
                                    Everything that's on the toteboard is also on a million TV screens throughout the stands etc. While it may not be ideal for some people, it seems like you can race just fine without a toteboard. Is there a law that says you have to have a toteboard in place?


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Drvmb1ggl3 View Post
                                      Everything that's on the toteboard is also on a million TV screens throughout the stands etc. While it may not be ideal for some people, it seems like you can race just fine without a toteboard. Is there a law that says you have to have a toteboard in place?

                                      More excuses why its not going across town ... Whittier Daily News 1-25-07 "Sunshine not going Hollywood"

                                      Haines said moving the tote board across town on one day's notice would be near-impossible because it has to be installed, hooked up and tested.

                                      But, frankly, who needs an infield tote board?

                                      "Most of the people are looking at the monitors anyway," Harris said. "We're really into a more high-tech era now where the old style is not as critical."

                                      Santa Anita officials are worried about transporting funds from their mutuel department to Hollywood Park. Said Haines: "That money is insured at Santa Anita but may not be insured at Hollywood Park."

                                      OK, but don't other major companies move money across town? That's why we have armored trucks.

                                      "Moving money, I mean, banks move money every day," one racetrack official said.
                                      One racing official who sympathizes with Santa Anita wishes management would have been more forthright with the reasons for not going to Hollywood Park.

                                      "Sounds to me like they were dancing, came up with excuses," he said.


                                      • #20
                                        Today's LA Times cited hail as the reason for the most recent problems. They thought they were OK, but then it hailed and the water (from the melted hail) penetrated into the surface that they had "sealed." Not sure I'm buying that.

                                        We're pretty good at moving money around in this town. Not convinced there either.
                                        Last edited by Peggy; Jan. 25, 2008, 04:13 PM. Reason: attempt to clarify physical states of the water
                                        The Evil Chem Prof