Santa Anita Postpones Due to California Fires

Santa Anita San Gabriel

copyright Cheryl Ann Quigley

ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 14, 2020)– The opening day of Santa Anita’s Autumn season will be pushed back a week until Friday, September 25, due to the impact of Bobcat Fire on the air quality and surrounding community.

“Our local community has been deeply impacted by the Bobcat Fire burning for more than a week in the mountains behind us,” said Aidan Butler, Executive Director of California Operations for The Stronach Group. “The current weather pattern has kept the smoke in the valley and the air quality is quite poor right now. The Red Cross is using Santa Anita as the evacuation zone for people – including many of our horsemen – whose homes are less than two miles from here. As excited as we are to welcome back live racing, we are first and foremost committed to safety. This is the responsible decision to make at this time so people can plan accordingly.”

“The stakes races set for this weekend will be brought back next weekend,” said Steve Lym, Santa Anita’s VP – Racing & Racing Secretary. “The smoke has impacted some training schedules, so postponing until next weekend will allow everyone a chance to be ready to go. We are planning on filling extra races throughout the meet to give our horsemen the opportunity to run their horses.”

The Opening Week now will feature a blockbuster schedule of outstanding stakes action, offering over $2-million in purse money. The stakes schedule includes seven races which are “Win and You’re In” races for the 2020 Breeders’ Cup World Championships. The stakes races originally slotted for this weekend will be run as follows: the Chillingworth on Friday, September 25, the Speakeasy on Saturday, September 26 and the Tokyo City Cup on Sunday, September 27.

Entries for Opening Day, September 25, will be drawn on Sunday, September 20, as scheduled. First post will be 12:30 p.m. PT.

Weather may determine Santa Anita racing days for upcoming winter meet

Santa Anita apron

copyright AGameofSkill.com

Santa Anita Park racetrack has received a green light from the state to begin its winter-spring meet Dec. 26 under the condition that the track be shut down in the event of inclement weather.

The California Horse Racing Board conditionally approved the venue’s license Thursday without answers to key questions, such as what exactly constitutes “inclement weather” and who will make the call.

Those answers will be presented by The Stronach Group, Santa Anita’s owners, at the CHRB’s next meeting on Dec. 12 at Los Alamitos racetrack. At that time, if the board members aren’t happy with the process, they’ll be able to retract their approval.

“If these procedures and protocols are put into place and enforced, the governor has no reason not to allow racing to continue,” said Gregory Ferraro, new chairman of the CHRB .

Ferraro, a former racetrack veterinarian who was appointed to the board by Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier this year, pledged the state board would be pursuing stricter regulations than it has in the past.

“The days of permissive medication are over,” he said. “We will gradually eliminate medications and keep them away from racing dates and training. We expect opposition, but we’re determined to carry this out in the best interest of horses and jockeys.”

Since last December, 37 horses have died while racing or training at Santa Anita. Initially, those deaths were believed to have …