Santa Anita shifts to earlier post time for rest of meet

ARCADIA, Calif. -- Santa Anita is adjusting its first post to 1:30 p.m. Pacific, beginning Thursday for the remainder of the spring-summer meeting through July 10.

The only exception will be Saturday, when first post time is noon to coincide with the simulcast of the Belmont Stakes program in New York.

Track officials are hoping an earlier post time will boost handle. Santa Anita marketing director Nate Newby said the previous first post time of 2 p.m. produced situations when handle on late races did not live up to expectations on occasions.

Through the Memorial Day program on May 30, the 17th day of the 40-day meeting, on-track handle was down 3 percent from a comparable period in 2015, Newby said. All-sources handle was down 2 percent, while on-track attendance was up 6 percent.