Santa Anita switching to dirt

DEL MAR, Calif. — Santa Anita will replace its synthetic surface with dirt in time for the track's winter-spring meet in December, owner Frank Stronach told about 250 horsemen gathered Wednesday night at Del Mar near San Diego. He said the project will be completed by the first week in December.

But the Daily Racing Form reported Thursday that the California Horse Racing Board voted to deny Oak Tree's request for its fall meet at Santa Anita.

Stronach was advised by the board that he would have to file an application at the group's September meeting to change Santa Anita's surface. The owner said before the vote that if Oak Tree officials decide not to run their meet at Santa Anita this fall, he would begin the surface change sooner.

Oak Tree officials told the board they would discuss holding the meet at Hollywood Park, DRF reported.

Stronach estimated it will cost $6 million to install the new surface.

He has never been a proponent of artificial surfaces and said he hopes everyone learned that "we never do something similar like that again."