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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Santa Anita News and Notes Jan 7

•    The Great Race Place completed week two of their winter meet under fair skies and temps in the high sixties. The main track has played fair this past week but the times continue to be on the slow side. Overall, the track is as safe as any dirt track can be. The turf course has also played fair with an equal amount of winners on the pace as well as from off the pace. The sprint distance of five and a half on the turf has favored off the pace runners. Racing returns this Friday with just a three day week and the single ticket jackpot of the pick six has climbed all the way up to $292,520. On Sunday there were five horses alive in the final race to be the single ticket winner, but it wasn’t meant to be.•    There were four significant stakes races this past

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Santa Anita News and Notes Dec. 31

• The Stronach Group, who own Santa Anita Park along with a number of other race tracks in this country, made a few poor decisions in 2019. But to their credit, they have also made a lot of good decisions in trying to save the sport we all dearly love, and one of them was to delay the opening of the Great Race Place to Dec. 28 due to inclement weather. I have been going to Santa Anita for opening day since 1967 and this past Saturday was as good as it gets. The track put on 11 races, 7 of them stakes, the weather was perfect, there were no breakdowns as both the turf course and the main track looked spectacular, the San Gabriel mountains in the background looked majestic, and 35,045 fans came to have a good time. And a good time was had by all. Two stars

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Santa Anita News and Notes Opening week

• Santa Anita Park opens their gates this Saturday, the weekend after Christmas, for their 83rd Winter/Spring season, but this year will be very different than all the others. Racing will not be allowed this season on days that the track is deemed to be unsafe due to inclement weather. Rain is forecast this week on Tuesday/Wednesday, but not much is expected and Thursday should be clear and sunny. A three panel group has been assigned to determine if the track is considered safe and that panel is made up of the track superintendent, Dennis Moore, who was not on board last winter, a member of the Jockey’s Guild, and a safety steward assigned by the California Horse Racing Board. Of these three, Moore is the key figure. He is highly respected by all and was shown the door last year over a contract dispute, as the track was trying

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TURFDOM NEWS AND NOTES December 3

• The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club completed their four week fall meet on a high note this past Sunday with record wagering, resulting in a 9% increase for the meet in average daily handle. The daily handle this year was $11,291,574 and topped 2017’s total of $11,004,979. This was the sixth year that Del Mar has hosted their fall meet since the closing of Hollywood Park. This is the first time in their 82 year history at this track that they had to cancel racing due to inclement weather. They lost two Thursdays during the meet due to heavy rainfall. However, in each case both the main track and the turf course dried out quickly and they were fast and firm for the final day of the meet. Average field size for the meet was 7.4 runners per race and was down from last year where the average was 7.7.

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Del Mar Horses To Watch Nov 13

• Del Mar Race Track, where the “turf meets the surf”, completed week two of their four week fall meet without incident on Sunday. Overall the main track has played fair, but on Sunday the outside lanes were the place to be and rally wide closers had the advantage. The times have continued to be on the “slow” side. The turf course has played fair regardless of where the inner rails have been placed, in fact, the rails have been out both weeks preserving the inner part of the course for the final week of racing and their Turf Festival. With a 90% chance of rain in the area this week, the track announced six days in advance they would cancel Thursday’s race card this week. That’s the first time in the 82 year history of this track they cancelled a day of racing due to the weather. Of course

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