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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Santa Anita Cancels Friday Racing While Artificial Track Rehab Continues

Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California, announced today that live racing will be canceled Friday due to a one-day delay in the last phase of its main track renovation. Racing is set to resume on Saturday. This is the track's second closure for track revamping in the 2008 race meet; some racing days were also lost because of torrential rain that aggravated the situation.

According to Ian Pearse, founder of Australian based Pro-Ride, whose synthetic polymer and binder is being blended into the troubled Cushion Track synthetic surface, the initial timeline of starting last Sunday and completing on Thursday was jeopardized because the track was still wet from Sunday’s rain, which forced cancellation of live racing on Sunday.

“We expected to make substantial progress starting late Sunday,” said Pearse. “We began amending the track, but the uneven drainage left it very wet in places and drier in others. The binder and polymer application is the most crucial piece of the renovation puzzle, and it cannot be done properly unless the surface is consistent, which delayed the initial application of the polymer until Monday.”

Santa Anita President Ron Charles said, “We know and deeply regret that the lost days have inconvenienced many horsemen and fans. At this point, as painful as it is to everyone to miss another day, an extra 24 hours is absolutely necessary to make sure that we allow Pro-Ride the time to complete this massive project according to their exact specifications.

"Our track crews have been working from 7:00 a.m. until after midnight every day, and will continue to do so until we get this finished. We will definitely race on Saturday. Ian agrees, and is very confident that the process is going well now. The portions of track that have been completed so far are as good as we expected. We have become increasingly encouraged that this new surface is going to be what we had hoped -— a good, consistent and kind surface that we all believe will drain properly for the rest of the meet.”

After rain caused drainage problems in the new Cushion Track, Santa Anita contracted with Pro-Ride to remix the Cushion Track with Pro-Ride's liquid polymetric binder fibers, which are not waxed. Pearse was interviewed by the Blood-Horse earlier this week.

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