Statement From Santa Anita Park
Santa Anita Park moved the final two races scheduled for the turf course oval to the main track on Sunday afternoon. The announcement was made after race 5, prior to the start of the Pick Six, after listening to the jockeys concerns about a spot midpoint on the final turn of the turf course during the running of the third race. Race 7 remained on the turf because the riders felt the downhill course was not impacted.
The jockeys’ concerns were first raised Saturday after an incident in the Charles Whittingham Stakes. In consultation with the jockeys and other industry stakeholders, Saturday’s final three turf races (races 8, 10 and 12) were transferred to the main track. The horse was examined by veterinarians, returned to the barn of his trainer, and appears to have been uninjured. Jockey Kent Desormeaux was examined at first aid and rode the Santa Anita Derby prior to taking off his final two mounts with body soreness.
The turf course was aerated and continued to be worked on by the track crew after Saturday’s races and throughout the night. Several jockeys, accompanied by Darrell Haire of The Jockeys’ Guild, and Santa Anita management, including the turf and track maintenance teams, walked the turf course early Sunday and the riders approved of the surface prior to the start of the racing.
The late scratches because of surface changes impacted all stakeholders, especially the horseplayers and horse owners, and affected the weekend’s wagering handle, but the move underlines Santa Anita Park’s continuing commitment to safety. Easter Sunday’s racing is the final day of racing prior to a scheduled break in the racing calendar. Racing will continue at Santa Anita on Friday, April 21st.