08/08/2012 3:20PM

Breeders' Cup: Santa Anita selected as host for 2013 event


Santa Anita Park has been selected to host the 2013 Breeders’ Cup pending the approval of a final host-site agreement, according to several officials involved in the discussions.

If the final contract details are worked out and approved by the Breeders’ Cup board, Santa Anita will become the host site for the two-day Breeders’ Cup event for the seventh time total and the fourth time since 2008. The track will be the site of this year’s event on Nov. 2-3, and it was also the host for the 2008 and 2009 events.

Santa Anita was identified as the 2013 host site over a short list of other contenders that included only Churchill Downs in Louisville and Monmouth Park in New Jersey. Monmouth Park, which held the event in 2007, was the first track to be passed over in the selection process, though it has been encouraged to apply for the 2014 event. Churchill, which has held the Breeders’ Cup eight times, including in 2010 and 2011, is expected to lobby aggressively for the 2014 event as well.

Santa Anita has several ardent supporters on the Breeders’ Cup board because of the track’s location within the enormous Los Angeles metropolitan area and because of the mild Southern California climate. The event has also been welcomed by area politicians such as L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the state legislature, which annually grants Breeders’ Cup tax breaks when the event is held in the state.

The selection of Santa Anita as the host site for the second year in a row also dovetails with a preference by some Breeders’ Cup officials to run consecutive events at the same site to leverage the organization’s marketing efforts. Breeders’ Cup has limited marketing funds, compared to other major sporting events, and holding the event at a site consecutively stretches the impact of the organization’s efforts to publicize the event throughout the first year of the two-year cycle.

A Breeders’ Cup spokesman, Jim Gluckson, reiterated on Wednesday that “it is Breeders’ Cup policy not to comment on host track selection until the process has been completed.”

Officials involved in the process said that they expected to announce that Santa Anita has been tabbed as the host in mid-August, along the same timeline as the announcement was made last year. Breeders’ Cup is reluctant to publicly identify the host site until the organization has secured hotel and special-event accommodations for the area because of concerns that local businesses will raise their rates if the site is known in advance.