The opening day of Santa Anita’s autumn season will be pushed back a week until Friday, Sept. 25, due to the impact of Bobcat Fire on the air quality and surrounding community.
“Our local community has been deeply impacted by the Bobcat Fire burning for more than a week in the mountains behind us,” said Aidan Butler, executive director of California operations for The Stronach Group. “The current weather pattern has kept the smoke in the valley and the air quality is quite poor right now. The Red Cross is using Santa Anita as the evacuation zone for people – including many of our horsemen – whose homes are less than two miles from here. As excited as we are to welcome back live racing, we are first and foremost committed to safety. This is the responsible decision to make at this time so people can plan accordingly.”
Steve Lym, Santa Anita’s vice president of racing & racing secretary, said, “The smoke has impacted some training schedules, so postponing until next weekend will allow everyone a chance to be ready to go. We are planning on filling extra races throughout the meet to give our horsemen the opportunity to run their horses.”
Opening week will now feature a blockbuster schedule of outstanding stakes action, offering over $2 million in purse money. The stakes schedule includes seven races which are “Win and You’re In” races for the 2020 Breeders’ Cup World Championships. The stakes races originally slotted for this weekend will be run as follows: the Chillingworth on Friday, Sept. 25, the Speakeasy on Saturday, Sept. 26 and the Tokyo City Cup on Sunday, Sept. 27.
Entries for opening day will be drawn on Sunday, Sept. 20, as scheduled. First post will be at 12:30 p.m.