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Santa Anita cancels; Sham postponed
Santa Anita officials announced that live racing for Saturday has been cancelled due to heavy overnight and early morning rain, which was expected to continue throughout the afternoon. The announcement was made at 9:45 a.m. (PST).
Saturday's nine-race program was to be highlighted by the $150,000 Sham S. (G3) for three-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles. The field for the Sham will be redrawn and run next Saturday, March 6. The Sham is an important steppingstone to the Santa Anita Derby (G1) on April 3.
Saturday's cancellation marked the fifth such weather related closure of the current winter/spring meet which began on December 26.
"This is terribly disappointing to everyone involved," Santa Anita President Ron Charles said. "Our main problem continues to be with the way the main track is draining. We've had a very problematic area near the finish line and we were successful in keeping the surface area there dry with the use of tarps, but we have standing water in other areas and it therefore would not be suitable to run on, especially with the prospect of more heavy rain through the afternoon.
"As we've said many times, in this very difficult situation, safety has to be our number one priority. As disappointing as it is to our horsemen, fans and employees, we simply cannot jeopardize the well being of our athletes, be they human or equine."
Charles also noted that Santa Anita will remain open Saturday for simulcast wagering from across the country, with free admission offered throughout the day and that officials are optimistic about conducting live racing on Sunday.
"The weather forecast for Sunday is good," Charles said. “We are very optimistic that we'll have the main track in good shape for tomorrow and that we'll be able to run all nine races. We have four races scheduled to be run on the grass tomorrow and we'll make a decision on the status of the turf course in the morning."
First post time for Sunday's nine-race card is at 12:30 p.m.