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Updated on 06/13/2013 8:57AM
Breeders' Cup 2014 to be held at Santa Anita
By Matt Hegarty
The 2014 Breeders’ Cup will be held Oct. 31-Nov. 1 at Santa Anita Park near Los Angeles, Breeders’ Cup announced Monday morning, marking the third consecutive time Santa Anita will host the event and the eighth time overall.
No other track has held the event in three consecutive years.
The decision to hold the two-day event at Santa Anita for the fifth time in the past seven years reflects the organization’s comfort level with the track as well as Breeders’ Cup’s preference to card the event at a warm-weather site. Over the past five years, many influential board members of the organization have lobbied heavily in favor of Santa Anita, which is owned by the Stronach Group, a private company controlled by the billionaire owner-breeder Frank Stronach.
The only other candidate for the event was Churchill Downs, according to Breeders' Cup officials. Belmont Park, which is operated by the New York Racing Association, had in the past expressed interest in the 2014 event but did not submit a bid.
“Santa Anita has proven to be an outstanding host for our championships, providing horsemen and fans around the world with a first-class facility and one of the greatest experiences in sports,” Craig Fravel, the chief executive of Breeders’ Cup, said in a release. “We also value our relationship with the Southern California business and entertainment community, who have demonstrated longtime dedication and support of the Breeders’ Cup since our inception in 1984.”
While Breeders’ Cup has shied from New York over the past decade because of the political and financial problems that have continually beset NYRA, Churchill Downs has remained in the mix even as some on the Breeders’ Cup board have supported making Santa Anita a permanent site. Churchill is the only racetrack other than Santa Anita to host the event since 2008. Churchill hosted the event in 2010 and 2011.
Churchill spokesman John Asher said in a statement that the track had “extensive discussions with the Breeders’ Cup over the possibility of serving as its host track in 2014, and our parties had no financial disagreements.”
In response to a question, Asher said that Churchill “would certainly be open to discuss a return of the event to Louisville.” Churchill has hosted the Breeders’ Cup eight times, and its two-day combined attendance figures in 2010 and 2011 were the highest since the Breeders’ Cup expanded to two days in 2007.
The decision to tab Santa Anita as the 2014 host was telegraphed three weeks ago when the California Horse Racing Board, deliberating over the state’s racing calendar for 2014 now that Hollywood Park has announced that it will close at the end of this year, awarded Santa Anita 2014 racing dates through the first weekend of November, when Breeders’ Cup prefers to hold the event. At the same meeting, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club outside of San Diego was awarded the fall dates for 2015, beginning on Oct. 28 of that year.
Prior to being hired by Breeders’ Cup as chief executive in 2011, Fravel was the president and general manager at Del Mar. The track, which generates one of the highest average attendance figures in the United States during its summer meet, plans to widen its turf course this fall, a project that will enable it to card turf races with a maximum of 14 runners beginning in 2014.
In a previous version of this article, Belmont Park was called a candidate for the 2014 event when in fact the track's operator, the New York Racing Association, did not submit a bid.
I loved attending the BC at Santa Anita, I loved attending it at Churchill Downs, I think it is a good idea to move it around especially for tourist racing fans like me but not to wet and cold places like Monmouth, what a disaster that last year was, awful weather and not a true test to find the best horses. I do agree that the facilities at Santa Anita are superb. Go The Fugue!
I've been to BC races at Arlington, Churchill, Belmont, Monmouth, Lone Star, and several times at Santa Anita and I must say that SA is by far the best venue for this event. They can handle the crowd, the betting, and the weather has always been spectacular. I know there is always some talk about Saratoga and it would be convenient for me, but there is little indoor area and it can be rather cold on the first day of November. Looking forward to 2013.
When it moved around, you had to win a lottery to buy tickets there was so much demand. Now, you can get reserved seats direct right now for $125 for 2-days.
A phony event needs a phony venue. Will they have the infield ferris wheel and roller coaster completed by then? For this they destroyed Handicap Racing across the country.
I'm not surprised this decision has been made in favor of Santa Anita. Last year, 2012, was the first time I had personally attended Breeders' Cup weekend, and one of the major reasons I decided to attend the event was because it was being held in the warm weather of Southern California, not to mention all of the other activities I could do over that weekend in Los Angeles and San Diego. Warm weather is always a tourist draw, not to mention the attractions of SoCal. November in Kentucky & New York can sometimes feel a little cool & crisp, although the weather in Kentucky is usually pleasant & comfortable in early November. I agree it would be nice to hold the races in Kentucky & New York once in awhile, but I don't see that happening too soon. A weekend of 70 - 80 degree weather will always be the trump card in scheduling Breeders' Cup races. Maybe some of the other warm weather venues in the country could eventually make a credible run at winning the Breeders' Cup event for their cities in the future.
Still waiting for Steve Crist to weigh in on this. Prediction of great unhappiness.
Not fair to players this should be moved around so every one get a fair chance Santa Anita is different. I myself will not play much there . Frank Stronach should be in jail because of what he did to Manga Entertainment robbing all the stock holders and ending up with all the tracks. His money tells the BC where they will race . Why not open Saratoga for a special event like this. Jbeau
With The BC being held at Santa Anita I hope it helps California racing. Lately I've noticed a small Exodus of some outfits coming east with a string. Keep it there if its gonna help racing last on the west coast. East coast has plenty of top races between Belmont, Saratoga, Gulfstream, Keeneland, Churchill.
need to try SARATOGA ?
I use to like when they moved it around to different racetracks, big advantage to keeping it at Santa Anita is no off track
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