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Santa Anita Begins New Dirt Era

Canadian-based trainer Robertino Diodoro has always wanted to win a race at Santa Anita. On opening day, Dec. 26, he not only won his first race there, he won the very first race on Santa Anita’s new dirt surface.

The track, which started the day listed as "good," was upgraded to "fast" by the third race. In the fourth race, highly-regarded 2-year-old maiden The Factor broke the old main dirt record for six furlongs, clocking a timeof 1:06.98 while winning by 8 1/4 lengths. The old mark of 1:07.20 was set by Sunny Blossom on Dec. 30, 1989.

In the opener, PSC Holdings’s Skellytown emerged victorious in a four-horse blanket finish to win the $10,000 claiming race at 1 1/16 miles by a nose under Victor Espinoza. Though Skellytown is a familiar face to Southern California race fans, he had most recently been running at Turf Paradise, where Diodoro is based during the winter.

“I just love it here, and it’s been a goal of mine to have horses here,” said a jubilant Diodoro.

Santa Anita opened its 2010-11 75-day winter meeting Dec. 26 when it also unveiled its new dirt surface. During the fall, the track replaced its synthetic surface.

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