04/28/2009 11:00PM

Breeders' Cup to stay at Santa Anita in 2009


The 2009 Breeders' Cup remains scheduled for Nov. 6-7 at Santa Anita Park in Southern California following a Delaware judge's affirmation of the organization's host agreement with the operator of the track during its fall meet, the Breeders' Cup said Wednesday.

Breeders' Cup Ltd. had been considering the relocation of the 2009 event because of uncertainties created by the recent bankruptcy of Magna Entertainment Corp., the owner of Santa Anita Park. Officials of Magna, the Breeders' Cup, and the Oak Tree Racing Association - the not-for-profit organization that leases Santa Anita during the fall - had recently asked the court to protect the host agreement regardless of any sale or disposition of the track.

According to the Breeders' Cup, the court approved the document during a hearing on Wednesday morning. Breeders' Cup officials had told Oak Tree that if the document was not approved by Thursday, then the event would move to Churchill Downs in Louisville, which is scheduled to host the 2010 event and has been the host of the Breeders' Cup on six previous occasions.

"We can now officially confirm that this year's Breeders' Cup World Championships will be held at Oak Tree at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 6 and 7 as originally planned," Breeders' Cup president Greg Avioli said in a statement.

Magna filed for bankruptcy on March 5. It is currently devising auction procedures for the sale of its racetracks, including Santa Anita Park. Breeders' Cup officials had feared that a sale of the track prior to the November event may have jeopardized the Oak Tree agreement. The document approved by the court on Wednesday will prevent any owner of the track from modifying or nullifying any provision of the current host agreement.

The Breeders' Cup has moved its year-end event from Santa Anita twice in the past 10 years. In both cases, the event was moved because of ongoing construction projects at the track.

Oak Tree has conducted a not-for-profit race meet at Santa Anita every year since 1969. The association has hosted the Breeders' Cup on three previous occasions, including last year.