Santa Anita News and Notes for March 31

• As I write this early on Monday morning, I would say there is about a 50/50 chance that racing at Santa Anita will start up this weekend, or maybe even Friday. The L.A. County Dept. of Health shut down racing here this past week due the Covid-19 virus and it is up to the track’s management to convince the department that the racing of horses is an “essential” business. So far, there has been no positive viruses found at the race track and that includes about 750 employees, which take care of 1700 horses that live on the back side. Aidan Butler of Santa Anita along with the TOC group head up the charge. They feel that the continuation of racing at Santa Anita does not represent a health risk to the workers that live here at Santa Anita Park. Furthermore, there are not enough farms in the area

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NEWS AND NOTES for March 24, 2020

• For the last 12 months, the “Great Race Place” has been consistently attacked by the media, the Governor, state senators, and animal activist groups, and through it all has managed to continue racing. But now there is a new invisible enemy, the Coronavirus, 10 times more deadly than the seasonal flu. And while many tracks across the country have shut down, Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields continue to race. But they only do so under the strictest of regulations, and new protocols are put in place every day so they can continue to do so. If the virus breaks out on the backstretch, where as many as 1000 people live, it’s all over. There are over 1500 horses here and they need to be cared for on a daily basis and exercised accordingly. All jockeys and exercise riders have their temps taken daily and are denied entrance

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News and Notes for March 17, 2020

Wow, what a difference one week makes. As the nation tries to get their arms around the deadly Coronavirus, the country has almost come to a standstill with regards to our everyday lives. With all the major sporting events either completely shutting down or at least postponed for some time, thoroughbred racing becomes the ONLY GAME IN TOWN. They won’t allow you to go to the track, as they have cancelled all on site spectators throughout the country, but you can watch and wager from home, which most people do anyway. Some satellite shops are open, but they are limiting the count to 200/250 people, if they are open at all. Most of the tracks are running around the country without spectators, but a few are closed down completely like Turf Paradise in Phoenix. Parx racing in Pennsylvania is shut down for two weeks and then will evaluate their situation.

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NEWS AND NOTES for March 3, 2020

As much as I like Santa Anita Park, no longer can it be called the “Great Race Place” based on what they have been offering players the last few weeks. Sunday’s card was just dreadful after late scratches with one four horse field, three five horse fields, and two six horse fields out of 8 races. The large races had seven horse fields. However, the track is taking steps to correct their issues, many that have occurred through no fault of their own. The overall horse population is currently down about 15% at the track. The Stronach Group is taking two steps to help with field size. 1. With the help of the T.O.C., the track is offering a 50% bonus for horses coming in from out of state and making their first start with a first through fifth place finish. This is for overnight races and is separate from

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TURFDOM NEWS AND NOTES for February 25, 2020

• Rain has continued to stay away from Southern California even though there was a 60% chance of precipitation this past Saturday. That keeps it fast and firm at the Great Race Place and the track has now gone five consecutive weeks without any mishaps (knock on wood). The main track continues to play fair but was back on the dull side this past week with times about 3 to 4 lengths slower than normal. The turf course has now started to favor off the pace runners in route races but the sprints remain fair. The fields continue to be on the “short” side and Santa Anita will introduce a bonus program in April to try and lure horses from other circuits. Right now they lose dirt horses to Oaklawn Park where they have much larger purses, but when Churchill and Keeneland open, where they also have grass racing, even

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TURFDOM NEWS AND NOTES for February 19, 2020

Eight weeks are now in the books at this winter meet and the weather continues to be rain free, which really helps the condition of both the main track and the turf course. For the 4th consecutive week at Santa Anita Park there have been no mishaps (knock on wood)  and the PETA people are getting tired of carrying their signs with nobody reading or listening. And there is no rain in sight in all of California for the next week as well. Both the main track and the turf course continue to play fair and favorites are dominating at the meet so far, mainly because of the small fields on most days. They raced four days this past week and they really struggled to put a card together for Monday. Favorites are winning at 39% overall, 42% on the main track and 36% on the lawn. The national average

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Santa Anita News and Notes Feb. 4

• Week six at Santa Anita was completed on Sunday and for the second consecutive week, there were no racing mishaps. Both the turf course and the main track continue to play fair and the weather continues to be good with warm days that will continue throughout the coming week. However, the horse population continues to dwindle, especially now that Oaklawn Park has opened in Arkansas with their large purse structure. Because of that the track has decided to not race the next two Thursdays and will resume racing this Friday, the 7th. The goal is to have fuller fields and better quality racing, even if it means fewer days. They will race four days the following week as the 17th is Presidents Day with the Monday holiday. Average field size so far for the meet has been 7.56 runners per race and last year at this time the field

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Santa Anita News and Notes Jan 27

• Week five at Santa Anita went along without incident for their three day stint as both the main track and the turf course played fair for the most part. However, on Friday the outside lanes were the place to be on the main track as four of the five winners rallied wide, well out in the middle of the racing surface. It also triggered a $71 winner in the finale as a first time starter from the Hector Palma barn went from last to first and provided a single ticket winner in the pick six that paid out at $784,772 for the 20 cent wager. The winning ticket was purchased in Brazil of all places, and cost $4500, which gives you a lot of action for a 20 cent wager. It was quickly pointed out by one of our customers, John Melting in Sacramento, that the $71 winner could

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Santa Anita News and Notes Jan 21

• Week four at Santa Anita Park had a great day of racing on Saturday for Cal Cup Day, but unfortunately three horses died this past week to take some of the luster off the proceedings. Two were pulled up on the turf course on Friday and Saturday and had to be euthanized due to injuries, while the other was somewhat of a fluke with a head on collision during training, much like what was experienced at Del Mar this past summer. That brings the total to five for the meet but none have been on the main track during racing, where Santa Anita took such a hit last winter. The main track is as safe as any in the country but injuries are going to happen. It’s the nature of the game and it always has been. It’s just sensationalized so much more today with social media and the

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Santa Anita News and Notes Jan 14

• Week three at Santa Anita Park concluded on Sunday without any mishaps. The main track continues to play fair and there was no precipitation during the week. The turf course is playing fair for the route races, but at five and a half on the turf, the late runners have all the best of it, as the first 13 races at that distance were all won from off the pace. The times are normal on the turf but the main track is still running on the slow side, and that’s just the way they want it, to keep racing as safe as possible. Racing returns this Friday with a four day week and will include Monday, Martin Luther King Day. The single ticket jackpot of the pick six has grown to $432,042. • There were two graded stakes on Saturday and one ungraded stakes on Sunday, and they all

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