CHRB to Begin Race Date Considerations

Board will undertake calendar that doesn't include Hollywood Park at May 23 meeting.

The California Horse Racing Board takes a first look at a race dates calendar that doesn't include Betfair Hollywood Park next year when it convenes in Sacramento May 23.

This will be the CHRB's first meeting in two years in the northern half of the state. Originally scheduled for the State Capitol Building, it has been moved to the grandstand clubhouse at the Cal Expo racing facility. It is to begin at 9:30 a.m. PDT.

Hollywood Park notified the board May 8 that it would not seek race dates in 2014, meaning its last day of live racing will be Dec. 22. The 238-acre landmark will be demolished for housing and commercial development beginning in 2014.

Santa Anita Park and Del Mar have lined up to take the lucrative dates, with an apparent conflict in the requested calendar occurring between the two tracks in November. Under the plans they have submitted, there would be no Thoroughbred racing in Southern California in December 2014 until Santa Anita reopens Dec. 26.

Under a request set forth prior to the CHRB meeting, the Los Angeles Turf Club, which operates Santa Anita, would retain its traditional winter opening Dec. 26, 2013. But it would extend a meet that usually ends in April to July 6. It is also requesting a fall meet in 2014 that runs from Sept. 25 to Nov. 9.

Del Mar Thoroughbred Club would run its summer stand from July 16 to Sept. 3 next year and would create a new autumn meet that would last Nov. 5-30. In 2015, Del Mar is requesting an even earlier startOct. 28.

The seaside track wants to alternate with Santa Anita as the host site for simulcast wagering during the two-day Breeders' Cup World Championships, in the same way Hollywood did for years when it operated the autumn meet. Del Mar notes that Santa Anita is adding the five-week Triple Crown season, another lucrative simulcast period, to its schedule.

"Del Mar submits that revenue associated with an every-other year (at a minimum) host status of Breeders' Cup dates is imperative for Del Mar to operate a successful fall race meeting," the CHRB staff report states.

The annual three-week stand in September at Fairplex Park that follows the Del Mar summer meet would remain unchanged. The dates in 2014 would be Sept. 4-23.

In Northern California, the CHRB will have to deal with three different date requests from the Sonoma County Fair at Santa Rosa, the California Authority of Racing Fairs, and Pacific Racing Association, which operates Golden Gate Fields.

Santa Rosa, which split with the California Authority of Racing Fairs effective April 2, is requesting 2014 dates from July 23 to Aug. 10. CARF would limit the Sonoma fair dates to July 23-Aug. 3, in order to keep it from overlapping with the Humboldt County Fair at Ferndale, which would operate Aug. 6-17. Meantime, Golden Gate Fields, under the PRA request, would operate its summer meet from Aug. 15 to Sept. 21.

The board also intends to study proposals for the 2015 season.

Also on the CHRB agenda is consideration of rule changes for exchange wagering in response to the Office of Administrative Law's decision March 20 rejecting the wording of eight of the 25 regulations originally approved.

The audio portion of the meeting will be available online through the "webcasts" link on the CHRB website,