It's Official: Santa Anita to Host 2002 Cup

The Oak Tree Racing Association at Santa Anita Park has been officially selected as host site for the 2002 Breeders' Cup Championship. The Breeders' Cup board of directors made the announcement after a meeting Friday.

Santa Anita, located in Arcadia, Calif., had been the front-runner, but when Magna Entertainment pulled its seven tracks out of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association last October, everything changed. Magna owns Santa Anita, and the Breeders' Cup has a policy that only NTRA members can serve as host sites.

Oak Tree could have held its meet elsewhere, and probably still hosted the Cup, but that issue became moot when Magna chairman Frank Stronach rejoined the NTRA and took a seat on the board of directors.

Breeders' Cup president D.G. Van Clief Jr. has said the organization is open to siting the Cup in 2004 at a track that hasn't hosted it. With New York on line this year, it would appear the 2003 event is odds-on to be held at Churchill Downs.

In other business, Friday, the Breeders' Cup board approved its general and administrative budget for 2001, and reviewed the details of its combined NTRA-Breeders' Cup marketing budget for 2001. The two organizations, which have a joint operating agreement, approved a $54-million budget Feb. 16.

Van Clief said $19 million of that amount goes toward purses for the Breeders' Cup championship and the companion National Stakes Program.