Fairplex Park will remain open as part of Southern California's off-site stabling through the Breeders' Cup World Champions this fall rather than closing July 10 as earlier planned.
California's stabling and vanning committee met June 3 and agreed unanimously to the extension, in part so that local horsemen would have plenty of stabling during the Breeders' Cup when many shippers arrive.
After Betfair Hollywood Park closed last year, the horses that stabled there year-round had to find other accommodations. The industry worked to have 500 stalls available at each of three locations--Fairplex in Pomona, Los Alamitos in Cypress, and San Luis Rey Downs in Bonsall, with the idea of phasing out Fairplex as Los Alamitos and San Luis Rey Downs built additional stalls.
However, during the Del Mar
meeting, which will open July 17, Santa Anita will be closed for training so that it can complete construction projects that will include a major renovation of the dirt surface.
"Leaving Fairplex open will help take pressure off of Del Mar, which has 2,100 stalls," said Joe Morris, president of the Thoroughbred Owners of California. "Then when the circuit moves back in September, Santa Anita has 1,900 stalls and Breeders' Cup traditionally takes 200 of those (for ship-ins). We thought it was the safest and best thing to do to leave Fairplex open until Nov. 5."
Morris chairs the stabling and vanning committee, which includes members representing Santa Anita, Del Mar, Los Alamitos, and Fairplex.
The Southern California circuit currently has 2,900 horses, with 3,400 total stalls available through the combination of Santa Anita and the off-site options. Morris reported that Los Alamitos has 461 Thoroughbreds stabled there, San Luis Rey has 370, and Fairplex has 325.
The stabling and vanning fund receives its money from simulcast wagering, half coming from the purse portion and half from the track commission portion. As wagering has migrated from simulcasting to advance-deposit wagering, the fund has dwindled.
To keep the fund solvent, the industry has adjusted the formula to include the ADW, also with half coming from purses and half from track commissions. Morris emphasized that this change does not increase takeout.
Fairplex's costs to the fund are higher than those at Los Alamitos and San Luis Rey Downs, which is one of the reasons Fairplex is being phased out. Fairplex management has also announced plans to move its September race meeting to Los Alamitos, though the California Horse Racing Board has not yet approved that move.