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Santa Anita Park Looms as 2012 BC Host Site

Luncheon scheduled in Los Angeles Aug. 10; officials decline comment on announcement.

There is strong speculation the announcement of Santa Anita Park as the 2012 Breeders' Cup World Championships host site will be made at a Los Angeles-based luncheon Aug. 10.

Invitations to the "special announcement" luncheon, hosted by Breeders’ Cup and Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, have been sent out to several Thoroughbred industry members and local politicians, according to Breeders’ Cup president and chief executive officer Craig Fravel.

“I’m not going to talk about the announcement until after the event, but I can confirm the event is scheduled and is going to take place,” Fravel, who took over the position from Greg Avioli at Breeders’ Cup in mid July, said Aug. 3.

Breeders' Cup spokesman Jim Gluckson said he couldn't comment on the 2012 host site.

Santa Anita, which this year replaced its synthetic main racing surface with a conventional dirt surface, hosted the World Championships in consecutive years in 2008-09. If the Breeders’ Cup is at Santa Anita again in 2012, it would mark the sixth time the Arcadia, Calif., track has hosted the event.

Santa Anita is owned by The Stronach Group. Avioli, who left Breeders' Cup to oversee Frank Stronach's racetrack holdings, couldn't be immediately reached for comment Aug. 3.

Santa Anita, racing as the Los Angeles Turf Club, regained its traditional fall dates for 2011. Racing dates for 2012 in California, however, won't be awarded until this fall, according to the California Horse Racing Board.

In mid-June Breeders’ Cup chairman Tom Ludt said the three host site finalists were Belmont Park, Churchill Downs, and Santa Anita. He said a committee headed by Gainesway Farm’s Antony Beck was working on selecting the location for the event, with a decision expected within a couple weeks.

Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), is hosting the Breeders’ Cup races this year Nov. 4-5 for the second year in a row and a record eighth time.