Santa Anita changes schedule

ARCADIA, Calif. -- Santa Anita will not run the final three Wednesdays of the winter-spring meeting, beginning this week, due to a shortage of available horses, the track announced Sunday.

The decision was reached after racing officials were unable to draw sufficient horses for Wednesday's program when entries were attempted Saturday. Track officials decided late Saturday night to cancel the Wednesday programs for this week, April 6, and April 13, according to track president George Haines.

The meeting ends April 17.

Last fall, Santa Anita applied to run four days per week, from Thursday through Sundays, in January and February of this year, with the exception of two five-day weeks for holidays, and then shift to a five-day week in March and April, adding Wednesdays. In February, the track announced that there would be no Wednesday racing until March 23.

The March 23 program was poorly supported by horsemen and fans, with 55 runners in eight races, an average of 6.9 runners per race. The ontrack handle was a disappointing $461,607.

Through Saturday, the track had averaged 7.68 starters per race since the meeting began Dec. 26, compared to 7.97 for a similar period at the 2009-10 meeting. The entire 2009-10 meeting had an average of 7.81 starters.