Santa Anita expected to perform work on track Tuesday

I hear Santa Anita is expected to announce Monday it will be performing some maintenance on its new dirt main track Tuesday in an effort to tone it down so it’s not quite so fast.

Three track records have been broken during the meet’s first 15 days, including new marks for 6 furlongs, 6 1/2 furlongs and 7 furlongs.

* Spectacular Bid’s 30-year-old 7-furlong record of 1:20 was shattered by Twirling Candy on opening day in the Malibu Stakes when the Candy Ride colt sped to victory in 1:19.70. He’s expected to return in the Strub Stakes on Feb. 5.

* Square Eddie returned from a 12 1/2-month absence Friday to win a 6 1/2-furlong allowance in 1:13.11, bettering Son Of a Pistol’s previous record of 1:13.71 set in 1998.

* The Factor, one of trainer Bob Baffert’s Kentucky Derby hopefuls, showed us early on during opening day this was going to be a fast track when he broke his maiden in a 6-furlong race in 1:06.98 — smashing Sunny Blossom’s mark of 1:07.20 set in 1989.

The maintenance is not expected to be major.

We’ll provide a report later in the week on the number of fatalities and breakdowns at Santa Anita during the meet’s first three weeks.

11 thoughts on “Santa Anita expected to perform work on track Tuesday

  1. I’ll still take the dirt at Santa Anita over that plastic crap they have at Del Mar, which by the way they’ll need to uproot in order to lure a Breeders’ Cup to the beach. But I’m not so sure they are big enough to host a ‘Cup event. I mean the opening days down at Del Mar are a disaster with traffic and trying to make a wager, that is unless you make your wager 2 races in advance.

    It’s only been two weeks with the new track and people are already griping about it. Give me a break.

  2. The pretty absurd fast times have been somewhat annoying, at least in the aesthetic sense. Twirling Candy is a very nice horse and actually could be any kind (that’s for the future to decide), but he’s no Spectacular Bid! After such a long time (3 years) with a completely different type of surface being down and then ripped up to be replaced by a brand new and technologically different dirt surface, it seems kind of too bad that the great records of the pre-synthetic era have to be in danger of being tossed aside like this. I’m not one of those “asterisk-happy” people that want to apply one of those little marks at the drop of a hat, so I don’t know what the alternative is. I just know I don’t like it when a maiden-claimer comes within a whisker of breaking a track record set by my beloved Kona Gold!

    Other than that, I haven’t had a big problem with the track being fast, as long as it’s fair. There’s a difference between being a fast surface and being speed-biased. Until Saturday, this track has been lightening fast but has been reasonably unbiased. Saturday WAS disturbing because it was a proverbial conveyor belt out there, with the no-passing sign up at every pole! Yesterday, at least after the first race, it wasn’t quite so pronounced, so maybe the dusting of sand that Tedesco gave it Saturday night helped a little bit.

    One other thing…..in talking with a few trainers, most of them say that yes, the track is very fast, but contrary to popular assumption, it’s NOT rock-hard. Personally, I’m one of those that would assume that one automatically means the other, but that’s not necessarily the opinion of the trainers I’ve talked to, for what it’s worth.

    Anyway, we will see after the work that gets done tomorrow.

  3. If the work is not going to be major than I dont expect much to change. This track is as biased as any track I have ever seen. A horse like Blind Luck had zero chance on this track. I know of a half dozen horses who went to the farm off winning races at SA and they are borderline to survive, they will never run again. The poor numbers so far on vanned off horses and fatalities are way off from what is reality. The closest thing you could do to get to the truth, besides being an owner is ask trainers off the record for an injury count… I hope in the off season they completely revamp this surface. I understand there is not much that can be done during the season as it would be dangerous to make too many changes while horses are running over it.

  4. 1 out of 8 starters on
    the new Santa Anita dirt surface
    is either eased—saddle slipped-
    or distance by twenty lengths.
    If a tarck is safe no matter how fast you never change it.

  5. When they discussed the installation of the new dirt surface, it was said the new track would be like the tracks at Churchill Downs, the Fair Grounds, and the Oklahoma Training track in Saratoga.

    Those tracks would never produce times like Santa Anita is right now. The surface at Santa Anita resembles I-95 more than a dirt race track!

    Slow it down, deepen the cushion , slower and safer will still be exciting.

  6. Per DRF article..Blind Luck going out of town to run. Dakota Phone going out of town to run. Clubhouse Ride going out of town to run. Comma to the Top going out of town to run. I have been reading in this paper for months how horses were going to look forward to dirt and how much they would like it compared to the prior surface. “Strange” how it is not playing out at all like some thought.

  7. The track is sooooo bad that Dakota Phone and Blind Luck are returning to run on it. Guess your reporting has been spot on Art. Must be the salt air burning some vision.

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