Santa Anita to postpone opening day of fall season because of air quality

Santa Anita will delay the opening of its fall horse racing season because of poor air quality from the Bobcat Fire.

Originally scheduled for a Saturday Sept. 19 opening day, Santa Anita will push the date back to Friday, Sept. 25.

“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, in a press release.  “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.”

The Opening Week now will feature a schedule that includes seven races in which the winners qualify 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, Sept. 25, will be drawn on Sunday, September 20, as scheduled. First post will be 12:30 p.m. PT.