The Oak Tree Racing Association announced Sept. 17 that it has reached an agreement with the Los Angeles Turf Club to extend the Oak Tree lease through the fall of 2016.
“Oak Tree has been a tenant at Santa Anita for over 38 years, during which time we’ve had an enjoyable relationship with the management and employees of the Los Angeles Turf Club and we are pleased that this partnership will now proceed well into the future,” said Oak Tree executive vice president Sherwood Chillingworth.
Oak Tree will embark upon its 39th annual season Sept. 26, and this year’s meeting marks the advent of Santa Anita’s Cushion Track surface. Oak Tree has agreed to contribute $3 million toward the more than $10 million cost of installing the new surface.
“We not only have a great race meet coming up (Sept. 26) with 13 graded stakes in a six week period, but the benefit of conducting this racing on a surface that has received overwhelming acceptance from the horse racing community is an added enhancement,” said Oak Tree pesident Dr. Jack Robbins, an equine veterinarian and an original Oak Tree board member dating back to 1969.
Santa Anita Park president Ron Charles stated, “It is extremely gratifying to continue this relationship with Oak Tree. From Dr. Robbins to Mr. Chillingworth to their entire board of directors, Oak Tree is universally respected as one of the most prestigious horsemen’s groups in the country. Oak Tree Racing Association has worked toward the betterment of the industry from every segment—from the backside, to the race track, to the racing facility, and it has remained dedicated to channeling its profits to research, development, and breeding, plus other worthy causes.”
Oak Tree, which has hosted three record-breaking runnings of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, in 1986, 1993, and 2003, has been selected to host the Breeders’ Cup World Championships in 2008.
“With the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series (a series of graded stakes) being run this year at Oak Tree, as well as Oak Tree hosting the simulcast of the Breeders’ Cup (from Monmouth Park, New Jersey) itself Oct. 26 and 27, we are going to have an array of some of the highest quality racing anywhere this year,” said Chillingworth.