Santa Anita re-schedules Opening Day to Saturday

SANTA ANITA TO POSTPONE OPENING DAY TO SATURDAY, DEC. 28,

AHEAD OF LOOMING RAIN FORECAST

The opening day of Santa Anita’s 83rd season will be postponed two days until Saturday, December 28th, ahead of next week’s declining weather forecast.

“Opening Day is traditionally one of our biggest days of the year, but our commitment to safety is first and foremost,” said Aidan Butler, Acting Executive Director of California for The Stronach Group. “It was very important to make this call as early as possible for our horsemen, fans and employees. There are many moving parts, especially in the training of these wonderful horses, and this decision is being made at this time out of respect to give all involved plenty of advance notice.”

Boom Time for California Horse Racing“It is very difficult to predict weather forecasts in Southern California more than 48 hours in advance,” said Dennis Moore, who has returned to his responsibilities overseeing Santa Anita track surfaces. “Right now, they have rain Monday through Thursday morning. But the models are continuing to change and when they do that, they are usually building up moisture.”

It would be the first time since the 1973-74 winter season that Santa Anita has not opened on December 26th. Santa Anita last opened on December 28th in 1971. Last year’s opening day on-track attendance was 41,373, with an all-time opening day handle record of over $20-million.

“The stakes races set for Thursday will be brought back on Saturday,” said Steve Lym, Santa Anita’s VP & Director of Racing. “With the rain in the forecast, it was extremely likely that the races would be off the turf on Thursday. Postponing opening day will allow for the high quality turf racing synonymous with Santa Anita. We are planning on filling extra races throughout the opening week to give our horsemen the opportunity to run their horses.”

Among the horses set to run is Fox Hill Farm’s Omaha Beach, the likely heavy favorite in the Grade 1 Runhappy Malibu Stakes, now set for Saturday. “They are doing the right thing by moving the races,” said Richard Mandella, Omaha Beach’s Hall of Fame trainer. “I’m just very happy to be in the race with this horse.”

Entries for Opening Day will be drawn on Monday, December 23rd, which was scheduled to be the entry day for that Saturday.

Santa Anita’s revised Opening Week schedule has live racing Saturday, December 28th and Sunday, December 29th; New Year’s Day Wednesday, January 1st, and Friday, January 3rd through Sunday, January 5th.

First post time on Saturday, December 28th, will be 11:00 a.m.

ABOUT SANTA ANITA PARK
Santa Anita Park is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida, and is one of North America’s top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world’s largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is North America’s premier supplier of virtual online horseracing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 16-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 twice. He cashed on the NHC Tour for 2018 with a 19th overall finish. Rich was also a winner of a $24,000 package into Kentucky Derby Betting Championship I. A former executive with Brisnet.com, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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