JC / Railbird

The Restoration

The work of replacing Santa Anita’s synthetic surface with dirt has begun:

“We just started to take the synthetic material off today,” Malloy said on Monday. “We’ve had skip loaders out on the track, piling it up and we’ll start hauling it off tomorrow. We anticipate it’ll take about two weeks to remove all of the synthetic material.”

The project is expected to be completed mid- to late-November.

With the return of dirt, owner and CHRB member Jerry Moss predicts:

“It’ll be a rebirth of California racing at the highest form and a successful, happy, nondivisive meet.”

Such optimism. Because, as with injuries, the surface is the only issue?

I realize I’m in the minority, but I’ll miss the Santa Anita synthetic. Although more handicappers caught on during this year’s Kentucky Derby prep season, the synth-to-dirt/SA-to-east angle was a profitable one during its existence. And I didn’t regret the Pro-Ride during the 2008 and 2009 Breeders’ Cup, not after the slop at Monmouth in 2007. There was not one breakdown in those four days, no George Washington to haunt our collective memories.

Elsewhere and unrelated: A short piece on public handicappers for HRF.