ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 23, 2010)—Santa Anita’s new all-natural dirt main track reopened for training Thursday morning, following record rainfall of 13 ½ inches since this past Friday—with 1 ½ inches falling late Monday afternoon.

“We’ve been out here since one o’clock this morning,” said Ted Malloy, who oversaw the installation of the new track. “It’s a very kind, yet firm surface and it drained exceptionally well. We’ve got the orange cones up 15 feet off the rail and this racetrack is fantastic this morning. We’ve been very cautious through all of this rain and we want to thank the horsemen for being so patient. Although the training track was open, we had to keep everyone off the main track until we got through this. I think the payoff is in the condition of the track this morning.

“We’ll take the cones down tomorrow and people can work down on the rail if they choose. The weather forecast is good for the next few days and we’ll work with the surface to air it out as best we can right up until opening day on Sunday.”

With mudslides in the nearby foothills and surface flooding in the city of Arcadia on Monday, Malloy said there was legitimate concern as to whether or not the new track would be capable of withstanding such a pounding.

“We got hit very hard shortly after 4 p.m. yesterday. Huntington Drive was flooded on the south end of the parking lot and at that point, there was nothing we could do except to wait it out and hope that the storm would move out, which it did early last night.

“We first opened for training on Dec. 6, and we got off to a great start, but beginning last Friday, we had to make adjustments and just try to be as conservative as we could possibly be. This was one heck of a baptism, but I’m glad we got it when we did, as opposed to a few days later.”

Santa Anita will open for its 74th winter/spring season on Sunday, with a special first post time of 12 noon. The Grade I, $250,000 Malibu Stakes and the Grade I, $250,000 La Brea Stakes highlight a nine-race program.

For more racing information and to make dining and/or seating reservations, fans are encouraged to visit, or to call (626) 574-RACE.