Sources: Santa Anita going back to dirt

My sources all tell me that Frank Stronach will inform horsemen during a meeting at Del Mar tonight that he will install a traditional dirt track at Santa Anita immediately following the Oak Tree meet and it will be finished in time for the track’s winter-spring meet that begins on Dec. 26.

Stronach also reportedly will tell horsemen that he’d like to have Oak Tree as a tenant for three additional years after this one, but that is contingent on a few things happening in his favor. One industry souce told me he still expects Oak Tree to be run at Del Mar beginning in 2011.

Earlier reports that Oak Tree would switch to Hollywood Park this year in order for work to begin immediately on the new track are untrue. Hollywood Park president Jack Liebau told me earlier today that there are no plans in the works for Oak Tree to race at the Inglewood track in 2010.

Stronach reportedly has already gotten permission from Arcadia officials to have work crews in line 24 hours per day to install the new dirt track in time for the regular Santa Anita meet. There is a high level of confidence that the work could be completed between the time Oak Tree closes on Sunday, Oct. 31 and the opening of Santa Anita’s winter-spring meet.

Another source said if the project was delayed in any way, a contingency plan could involve racing the first days of the meet at Hollywood Park.

We’ll know more tonight after Stronach’s meeting with the horsemen, which is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. at Del Mar’s Surfside Raceplace.

7 thoughts on “Sources: Santa Anita going back to dirt

  1. I thought Stronach was strongly against the use of overtime and around-the-clock activity to install a new track. That’s what he implied at the CHRB meeting at Hollypark in June.

    As long as the base is good, then hopefully the dirt will work out.

  2. Del Mar will not even get the attendance they receive during the summer meet if they race the oak tree meet at Del Mar in 2011 like it is stated here.

  3. Scott Richardson,

    I don’t understand your point. No race meet in North America gets the average daily attendance that Del Mar receives during its summer meet. The Del Mar meet has been the leader among all tracks on the continent in that category for many years.

    The Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita (excluding the Breeders Cup years) doesn’t even come close. I would expect that Oak Tree at Del Mar would certainly do no worse than Oak Tree at Santa Anita and possibly even better.

  4. Yes Andy, the good guys do win once in a while.Congratulations for all of your work on this issue.

    When Stronach said “we are committed to a dirt surface at Santa Anita” the room cheered… enough said.


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