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Dec 03, 2010

December marks a new beginning

By: By Don Agriss, Horse Racing Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Horse racing is always facing doom and gloom reports about its future. This week news out of Maryland indicates that thoroughbred racing might not happen in 2011 and New York City OTB could close.

However, this month a couple of tracks get into action.

Turfway Park in northern Kentucky opens on Thursday for its 2010-11 racing season and Santa Anita Park is preparing for its new dirt surface to get used for training and then live racing.

Turfway Park, located across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, begins its four month winter schedule. The first half of the season is the Holiday Meet.

Turfway Park will have live racing four days each week, Thursday through Sunday. till the end of 2010. Post-time is 5:30 p.m. (et) on Thursday and Friday and 1:10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

After a three day break from Thursday, December 23 through Christmas Day, Turfway Park will resume racing the entire week following Christmas. With the resumption of racing first post will be 1:10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, December 30.

New Year's Eve falls on Friday this year and Turfway Park will have a post- time at 5:30 p.m.

Turfway Park will continue its four day racing schedule in January. Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays will have post-times of 1:10 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Fridays.

The track, which will run through April 3, goes to three days a week, Friday through Sunday, for February, March, and April, but adds a daytime card on Presidents Day, Monday, February 21.

Turfway Park is home of the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes for three-year-olds. The Kentucky Derby prep race will be held on Saturday, March 26.

In California, Santa Anita Park has a brand new, all-natural dirt main track. Horses will be allowed to begin training on the freshly installed surface on Monday, December 6.

Located in Arcadia, Santa Anita will have its traditional opener on Sunday, December 26.

"We're elated to be able to welcome everyone back," said Santa Anita President George Haines. "We're ready to get back to business. We expect the stable area to begin filling up over the weekend and we'll have horses back on the main track on Monday morning.

"We're not only offering our fans and horsemen a new track, but we're also going to be offering huge purses, which will be for everyone's benefit. We expect that our purses are going to be 25 percent higher than they were a year ago and this should result in larger, more competitive fields which will provide better wagering opportunities."

The $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap for older horses will go off on Saturday, March 5. Misremembered won the 2010 Big 'Cap for trainer Bob Baffert with Martin Garcia in the saddle.

On Saturday, April 9 three-year-olds will contend in the $1 million Santa Anita Derby. Sidney's Candy won the most recent renewal defeating eventual Preakness Stakes champ Lookin At Lucky.

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