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Friday, January 25, 2008

Try To Hail A Tote Board In This Weather?

- Ron Charles told the LA Times that it wasn't the rain that caused Thursday's card to be canceled; it was the hail!

"Without the hail, we would have raced today, and possibly tomorrow and Saturday as well. We had a good seal on the track and were actually in pretty good shape until the hail hit. The hail melted and sunk into the track that, as everyone already knows, has a severe drainage problem."
Charles is still holding out hope that the West Coast portion of the Sunshine Millions could be held as scheduled on Saturday; but said it would be rescheduled within the next two weeks if it can't. The Cushion Track fix is scheduled to take place next Monday and Thursday; those cards would obviously be canceled as well.

There's been discussion of the infield tote board issue, and the explanation that the races could not be moved to Hollywood because the two tracks share one that couldn't be transported and hooked up in time. But Art Wilson reports in the Whittier Daily News that some feel that's just a weak excuse, and that Santa Anita simply doesn't want the races to be staged at a rival track. But, frankly, who needs an infield tote board?
"Most of the people are looking at the monitors anyway," [racing board vice-chairman John] Harris said. "We're really into a more high-tech era now where the old style is not as critical."

Santa Anita officials are worried about transporting funds from their mutuel department to Hollywood Park. Said [Santa Anita general manager George] Haines: "That money is insured at Santa Anita but may not be insured at Hollywood Park."

OK, but don't other major companies move money across town? That's why we have armored trucks.

"Moving money, I mean, banks move money every day," one racetrack official said. [Whittier Daily News]
Seems a reasonable point about the tote board. Thinking about it, when I'm making my final wagering decisions, I'm generally indoors using the monitors. I think I'm past the point when I go racing inside in the last minute in reaction to a late betting move revealed by the infield tote. (Mostly over it, anyway.) Besides, I imagine that if they really want to move the races to Hollywood, one of those giant jumbotrons could be rolled into the infield to show the odds instead.

- Racing has been canceled at Santa Anita again today. But it's not just synthetic tracks that are sometimes at the mercy of the weather.

[UPDATE: This is quite a serious storm, potentially with far more profound consequences than the Sunshine Millions. Let's just hope everyone is OK out there. Man, California is one wacky place to live!)