News and Notes May 23 – by Rod Young Turfdom

After months of rain and off tracks, summer came fast to the Arcadia oval and it was just plain “hot” most of the race week. Horses can handle rain, snow, and cold temps but they don’t like the heat. Temps cool off this week as we head into Memorial Day weekend, back into the mid seventies, but there is a good chance of rain on Thursday and Friday. The weekend is clear. For the most part, both the main track and the turf course played “fair” for the week. The turf course has really held up well with all of the racing that goes with a meet that basically runs straight for six and a half months. The pick six was hit Sunday for $90K plus, but there was more than one ticket, so the single ticket jackpot climbs to $253,350 for Thursday. This is a five day race week,

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News and Notes May 16 – by Rod Young Turfdom

In Major League Baseball, around the month of August, they call it the “dog days” of summer. Well summer hasn’t reached Santa Anita Park yet, at least not by the calendar, but that’s the way it feels with the programs they are churning out each day at the “Great Race Place.” Small five and six horse fields are very common in the first half of every program, most of the stakes races have small fields with overwhelming favorites, and the programs are dominated with six and seven dollar winners, or lower. In fact, this past week, they had a five horse field in the morning of low level claimers, one was a late scratch making the field just four, then there were two very late scratches at the post due to the unsoundness of the horses. That left just two at the gate. So they ran a match race with

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News and Notes May 9 – by Rod Young Turfdom

Once again rain wreaked havoc with the weekend cards at Santa Anita Park. Over the two days, 4 races were taken off the turf, all four down the hill, and the fields were cut in half due to late scratches. The two turn races remained on the grass, but there were still numerous scratches from fields that were already small from a horse shortage at this time of year. The main track was wet fast both days, had been sealed the night before, and like most wet/fast, sloppy tracks, speed was good early, and then late runners dominated later in the race card. It’s unusual for Southern California to get rain this late in the Spring, but this has been an unusual winter/spring for the state of California. Water has become a precious commodity in the state and the precipitation is more than welcome overall. Racing resumes this Thursday with

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News and Notes May 2 – by Rod Young Turfdom

Racing returns to its normal four day race week beginning with this Thursday and both weekdays have better than average field size. They have 65 horses entered for Thursday and Friday has a full slate as well. With warm weather in the forecast, the turf course is being used a bit more and the first two year old race of the year is slated for Thursday. Plus it’s Kentucky Derby week as well so Saturday will have an early post of 12 noon with 11 races on the schedule. Back in Louisville the forecast is a 60% chance of showers on Friday and 30% chance on Saturday with temps in the mid sixties. The lone c/o into Thursday’s racing is the single ticket jackpot of the pick six which now stands at $349,793. The main track and the turf course both played “fair” over the weekend. They ran two Grade

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News and Notes Apr. 25 – by Rod Young Turfdom

During the Winter meet they had to cancel racing at Santa Anita on 3 different occasions due to heavy rainfall. They had to cancel racing this Thursday for another reason, insufficient entries. Cancellation of a race day due to lack of entries is rare at Santa Anita, but this is the time of the year when they always seem to be short of horses. They are not machines and they need a break some time during the year. With Del Mar just a couple of months away and their large purse structure, owners/trainers want a fresh horse for that meet. Throw in the fact that too many local horses are shipping out of town for more lucrative stakes engagements and bigger purses, and one understands the situation. Just this past weekend, 3 shippers won stakes on the road, i.e. Imperative taking down the Charles Town Classic in West Virginia for

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News and Notes Apr. 18 – by Rod Young Turfdom

The long Santa Anita meet, which runs through July 4th, started its second half this past week and for the first time in quite awhile, there was actually a bias on the main track. Early speed dominated the main track races on both Friday and Saturday but then on Sunday, it was back to a “fair” race track. The turf course continued to play fair as winners were found on the pace as well as coming from off the pace. Management will continue to keep the inner rails out anywhere from 10 to 30 feet for the next couple of weeks to protect the inside of the course. Racing resumes this Thursday with their normal 4 day race week and there are two c/o in the exotic pools. The Super High Five has a c/o of $35,348 in the final race of the day and the single ticket jackpot of

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News and Notes Apr. 11 – by Rod Young Turfdom

The long Winter/Spring meet concluded on Sunday with a race track that has played fair for most of the meet, although the times have been on the slow side for Santa Anita Park. Many Easterners complain about the speed friendly tracks here, but that just isn’t the case anymore, as more than a fair amount of winners come from off the pace, both long and short. The turf course has also been playing fair regardless of where the inner rails have been placed. They had a good on track crowd of 36,155 on Saturday for the Santa Anita Derby and set a record for handle on the late pick 4 of $1,473,681, the largest amount ever bet for that wager other than a B/C Day. Racing resumes at the Great Race Place this Friday, as they start the second half of racing here and will continue on until July 4th.

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News and Notes Apr. 4 – by Rod Young Turfdom

Although times were very slow this past week, the main track continued to play fair at the Great Race Place in Arcadia, California. The turf course is also playing fair regardless of where the inner rails are placed. As we head into the final week of the Winter/Spring meet, temperatures remain in the 80s and track conditions remain perfect. There is a c/o in the pick six for Thursday of $133,546 along with the single ticket jackpot of $590,443. The latter wager has not been hit in 23 race days going back to February 20th. They had just two stakes over the weekend and only one was graded, that being the Tokyo City Cup on Sunday, a Grade 3 at a mile and a half on the main track. John Sadler’s Hard Aces got up on the outside in a thrilling 3 horse finish to get the money at 4/1.

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News and Notes Mar. 28 – by Rod Young Turfdom

With the weather staying dry at the Great Race Place, form has been holding up quite well overall and the main track continues to play fair for the most part. Saturday had its fair share of longshots resulting in a pick six c/o into Sunday, but that has been the exception rather than the rule. That is why the single ticket jackpot in the pick six has not been hit for 19 consecutive race days. The pool now sits with $496,486 in the kitty going into this Thursday’s action. The turf course has also been playing fair in two turn races but not so in the sprints down the hill. There speed has been winning and horses back in the pack and deep closers have no chance. Part of that scenario is because they have kept the rails out 30 feet for the down hill sprints, even when they are

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News and Notes Mar. 21 – by Rod Young Turfdom

With the weather now good at Santa Anita, favorites have been dominating the scene, and such was the case this past week with no c/o in the pick six other than the single ticket jack pot, which now stands at over $346,000 going into Thursday’s card. In fact favorites are at 36.55% overall for the winter meet with dirt races leading the way at 38.46%. The number drops to 30.53% on the grass. Odds on favorites are winning at 62.03%, but odds on favorites in the money is at 94.94% (75 of 79). That’s a pretty good number for the bridge jumpers and there have been a number of them at the meet. They ran three stakes over the weekend and favorites won all three. The only graded stakes was the Grade 1 Santa Margarita at 9 furlongs on the main track and Baffert’s Vale Dori kept right on rolling

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