The Thoroughbred Times website is reporting that Frank Stronach will be putting a dirt surface in at Santa Anita Park in time for their winter season and its traditional starting date of December 26. This move, of course, is an admission by the California Horse Racing Board that their premature insistence that all tracks install synthetic surfaces was a mistake. While Hollywood Park (with cushion) and Golden Gate (with Tapeta) have been relatively successful with their synthetic surfaces and Del Mar (Polytrack) is at best an iffy proposition, Santa Anita and their Pro-Ride track was an unmitigated disaster. Santa Anita would lose racing dates if any type of rain fell in Southern California because the track became unusable. It happened time and time again and now, hopefully, with the restoration of dirt, Santa Anita will once again be able to be a racetrack and not something of a joke.
In a related article on the Thoroughbred Times website, it was also rumored that Stronach would reverse his previous position and offer Oak Tree a three-to-five year extension to run their racing season at Santa Anita. Of course, Stronach would then ask for something in return, which Thoroughbred Times reports is a four-week extension of the winter season. If the dirt plan goes through, I cannot see how it would be a bad thing for there to be more dirt racing in Southern California.
What we have here, it appears to me, are numerous rushes to judgement and the people that made them realizing that they were in the wrong. First, the CHRB mandating the changeover to synthetic and now seeing what they have wrought and deciding to allow Santa Anita to remove a disastrous racetrack with a more stable one, hopefully. Secondly, Frank Stronach declaring that Oak Tree must get out and now electing to welcome them back, if the rumors and reports are true, which is a good situation for all concerned because Oak Tree just belongs at Santa Anita.
Tune in tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!