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Turf Renovations at Santa Anita Hurting Field Sizes

Turf Renovations at Santa Anita Hurting Field Sizes

30.06.2016, by Jim
Turf Renovations at Santa Anita Hurting Field Sizes&h=223&w=348&zc=1

In the long term, the new renovations on the turf course at Santa Anita will definitely be a positive for the track. Before it was done there were frequent complaints from horsemen about the quality of the turf and with a brand new Bermuda grass surface it should make for better racing. In the short term, however, the renovations are causing problems. Since turf racing ended on June 19, field sizes at the venerable Southern California track have declined sharply.

In the five days of racing since turf racing ended (June 23 through July 1) race fields averaged 6.71 runners. Overall for the entire Spring meet (which began on May 5) races have had an average of 7.44 runners per event. In 2015, the Spring meet had 7.44 runners per race. The Santa Anita Winter/Spring meet (late December to early April) averaged 8.1 runners per race. Santa Anita officials are hopeful that the final days of the meet will see larger fields. The Santa Anita meet ends on July 10th with racing at Del Mar starting on July 15.

That might just be ‘wishful thinking’ as the racing card for Sunday might be the most sparsely entered yet. There are a total of 58 horses entered for the nine race Sunday card or an average of 6.44 per race. The biggest field on the card will be the $75,000 Southern Truce Stakes which has eight horses entered. Racing will continue at Santa Anita on July 4 and then for the final three days of the meet on July 8, 9, 10.

Although the turf track is coming along on schedule and should be ready for the start of the Autumn meet on September 30 many racing fans aren’t happy. Since racing stopped on the hillside turf course (June 5) and on the oval portion of the course (June 19) to allow for the renovation the field sizes have dropped and some fans suggest that the quality of racing has also declined. Some have even suggested that it would be preferable for Santa Anita just to close down the track during renovation instead of running races with such sparsely subscribed fields. That idea was never under consideration, apparently, and Santa Anita will soldier forth until the end of the meet.

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