The California Horse Racing Board is to hold its final meeting of 2013 on Dec. 12 at Santa Anita Park with several items on the agenda related to racing in the state next year after the closure of Betfair Hollywood Park.
The board will entertain discussion and possible action on a report from the Stabling and Vanning Committee about meeting plans to transfer horses currently housed at Hollywood Park to various replacement locales. The plan—as presented by The Thoroughbred Owners of California, The Stronach Group (owners of Santa Anita Park and San Luis Rey Downs training facility), Del Mar, and Los Alamitos—was endorsed by the board when it okayed the final Southern California racing calendar during its Oct. 24 meeting.
Hollywood Park, which is to close for racing with the end of its current meet Dec. 22, has agreed to remain open for stabling and training until Jan. 31, 2014.
In other agenda items related to the closure, the board will discuss and possibly act on:
—Santa Anita's progress on its backstretch renovation plans;
—San Luis Rey Downs' renovation status for use as an off-track training center by Feb. 1, 2014;
—Del Mar Thoroughbred Club's turf course rebuilding and the possibility of the San Diego-area track becoming an off-site training facility in the latter half of 2014 or 2015;
—Los Alamitos Race Course's expansion and renovation of its track for two brief Thoroughbred meets in 2014-15, as well as a progress report on backstretch improvements to enlarge its stable area;
—Barretts Race Meet at Fairplex Park's plans for preparing its backstretch as an off-site training facility.
The CHRB has also scheduled action on the remainder of the Northern California race dates calendar for 2014-15 after approving allocation of dates for the first half of 2014 to Golden Gate Fields, which will run from Dec. 26 to June 15. Consensus, however, has been difficult to achieve on the remainder of the calendar with Golden Gate, the California Authority of Racing Fairs, Santa Rosa County Fair, and Cal Expo in disagreement on various aspects. A CHRB ad hoc committee was formed to help resolve the disputes and it plans to present the latest proposal.
The board also may be prepared to announce the selection of a new executive director. The position, which pays as much as $120,000 per year, has been vacant since the death of Kirk Breed Aug. 7. Assistant Jackie Wagner has been acting on an interim basis. The board is to discuss the matter in executive session and could make a public announcement of the selection following closed debate.
The meeting is to begin at 10 a.m. PST in the Baldwin Terrace Room. An audio-only webcast of the board meeting can be heard through the "Webcasts" link on the CHRB website (www.chrb.ca.gov). The agenda and supporting packages of materials for the meeting can also be accessed on the website.