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Breeders' Cup: Progress on 2009 Site

Parent company of racetrack in bankruptcy.

Breeders’ Cup Ltd. has issued a statement reaffirming its belief that negotiations can be completed and a contract signed so the 2009 World Championships will still take place Nov. 6-7 at Santa Anita as part of the Oak Tree meet.

Whether Santa Anita will play host to the Breeders’ Cup for the second consecutive year is in question because Magna Entertainment, which owns the track, has filed for bankruptcy and is in the process of seeking court approval to auction some of its assets, including Santa Anita.

The Daily Racing Form reported that Breeders’ Cup has set an April 30 deadline for negotiations to be completed with Oak Tree and Santa Anita or it would consider moving the races to Churchill Downs. The Louisville track is the designated site for the 2010 world championships and is the backup site for 2009.

“Our current intention is to stage the 2009 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita during the Oak Tree meeting,” the Breeders’ Cup statement said. “We are working with Santa Anita and Oak Tree management and our legal counsel to obtain the necessary protections so that the event can take place as planned. We have made a great deal of progress in the last few weeks working with Oak Tree and Magna and remain confident that we will obtain the necessary approvals from the bankruptcy court in the immediate future, and the 2009 event will be at Oak Tree as originally planned.”

"Everyone's agreed to it, and no one's opposed to it," Sherwood Chillingworth, the executive director of the Oak Tree Racing Association, told the Racing Form. "It's hard to believe that if you have every party to an issue on board with it, that it won't get done. But a bankruptcy court is a world unto itself."

"It needs to get done in the very near future," Avioli told DRF. "We can't get very far beyond where we are now. We have contracts, hotel rooms, travel plans, a ton of logistics that can't be done until we know for sure."