Santa Anita winter-spring meet to include up to a 2-week break

Santa Anita winter-spring meet to include up to a 2-week break
Photo: Santa Anita Park
The California Horse Racing Board approved a 2022 racing calendar similar to this year, but it will include up to a two-week break in the midst of the Santa Anita winter-spring meet.

During the board’s regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, CHRB executive director Scott Chaney said the idea of Santa Anita taking a break from racing after the Santa Anita Derby (G1) in April proved “fairly popular” among stakeholders during recent committee meetings and other discussions.

Santa Anita general manager Nate Newby told the board “we’re hearing all the feedback” and that track officials agree a break during its marathon winter-spring stand would be the right move.

“We support that,” Newby said. “Not only to get the horses and horsemen a little bit of a break during a six-month meet, but also the chance to do our turf course statements, which our team really, really needs to do.”

The plan under consideration would include no racing at Santa Anita the week of April 15-17. That would be followed by a “flex week,” where Santa Anita could or could not run, depending on a number of factors.

“Our thought is if we had quite a bit of rain in February and had to cancel some days … we’d look at going ahead and running (the third week in April),” Newby said. “But if it was a dry winter and spring where we didn’t (lose days), then we would probably look at taking those two weekends off.”

This past season, Santa Anita did not race on two Fridays in April. Turf racing also was halted entirely for one of those weekends, and the course was used only sparingly the following week.

The 2022 racing calendar is mostly unchanged from this year. Santa Anita’s winter-spring meet will be held from Dec. 26 to June 19. Los Alamitos will host a total of seven weeks of racing, starting with a three-week “Los Angeles County Fair meet” from June 22 through July  12. The track also will hold meets Sept. 14-27 and Dec. 7-20.

Del Mar will host its summer meet from July 22 through Sept. 11. The Del Mar fall meet will be held from  Nov. 11 to Dec. 4. The fall meet at Santa Anita will be from Sept. 30 to Nov. 6.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the board approved licenses for the upcoming fall meeting at Santa Anita and Golden Gate, but only after extensive discussion because of the lack of an agreement between both tracks and the California Thoroughbred Trainers.

The impasse between the parties relates to the process of a trainer being excluded, or ruled off, by a track. Frustrated with the lack of a signed contract, CHRB chairman Gregory Ferraro brought up the “nuclear option” of not granting licenses to operate the meets. However, the licenses were approved with a provision that select members of the board would serve as mediators during the ongoing negotiations between the track’s and CTT.

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