Does CA Breeders' Cup Hinge on Fall Dates?

Uncertainty over racing dates in California could be a factor for Breeders' Cup.

California isn’t expected to award 2012 racing dates until the fall, which makes for an interesting scenario as Breeders’ Cup continues discussions on selection of a host site for next year’s World Championships.

Santa Anita Park is one of three racetracks said to be in the running; the other two are Belmont Park in New York and Churchill Downs in Kentucky. Churchill hosted the event in 2010 and will host this year’s World Championships.

In 2010, the premier fall dates in California went to the Oak Tree Racing Association, which held its meet at Hollywood Park after Santa Anita owner Frank Stronach ended the track’s long-running arrangement with Oak Tree. The California Horse Racing Board awarded this year’s dates—late September through early November—to Santa Anita, which operates at the Los Angeles Turf Club.

Oak Tree will not have a meet this year but has expressed interest in future meets and hosting another Breeders’ Cup, perhaps at Del Mar.

CHRB chairman Keith Brackpool said July 21 racing dates for 2012 would be decided in September or October of this year. Ideally, Breeders’ Cup would select a host site at least two years in advance.

Breeders’ Cup officials the week of July 10 indicated they hope to make a decision soon but had no date for an announcement.

The New York Racing Association, which has hosted the World Championships five times, made a presentation to Breeders’ Cup in June. NYRA hasn’t hosted a Breeders’ Cup since 2005 at Belmont.

The launch of video gaming at Aqueduct later this year will provide revenue for purses and capital improvements not only at Aqueduct but Belmont and Saratoga.