07/07/2006 12:00AM

Cal Cup one week before BC

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The California Cup program will be run on Saturday, Oct. 28 this year, a week before the Breeders' Cup is run at Churchill Downs in Kentucky.

This will be the first time since 2000 the California Cup program, the showcase day for statebreds, has been run a week before the Breeders' Cup . In recent years, the California Cup has been held on the weekend following the Breeders' Cup. A recent exception occurred in 2004 when the California Cup was held in mid-October.

This year, the California Cup is being held on the final Saturday of the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting. The Breeders' Cup coincides with the first weekend of the Hollywood Park fall meeting.

The proximity of the California Cup and the Breeders' Cup will prevent leading California-breds from starting in both events, a rarity in any year. The Breeders' Cup Classic could include Brother Derek, the winner of the Santa Anita Derby, and Lava Man, who was scheduled to start in Saturday's Hollywood Gold Cup. Either would be a heavy favorite in the California Cup Classic.

Doug Burge, the executive director of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association, said "there is little choice" in selecting an ideal date for the California Cup. With a position at the end of the Oak Tree meeting, horses can have prep races at the start of the meeting in late September or early October.

The 2006 California Cup Classic is returning to a Saturday after being held on a Sunday, the closing day of the Oak Tree meeting, in 2005. The move to a Saturday is designed to give Oak Tree a stronger final weekend, with the closing day typically drawing a larger-than-normal crowd for a Sunday.

"Having California Cup on a Saturday gives them two big days instead of one," Burge said.

Burge said the race conditions and purses of the California Cup are unchanged. Similar to 2005, a maiden special weight will be offered in addition to the 10 stakes, Burge said.

In an effort to drive attendance, Burge said that customers who attend certain days at the start of the Oak Tree meeting will receive an offer for free admission on California Cup Day. Last year, the California Cup drew an ontrack crowd of 22,194, the second-lowest in the 16-year history of the event.

Northern sale has 243 lots

The CTBA has cataloged 243 yearlings for its northern California yearling sale in Pleasanton on Aug. 15.

The event was launched in 2004. Last year, 164 yearlings were sold for $1,243,500. The average of $7,582 increased 10 percent from 2004.

The sale has produced such stakes winners as Bai and Bai and Sharoana, the winner of the Everett Nevin Alameda County Futurity against males at Pleasanton last weekend. Sharoana was sold for $25,000 at the 2005 northern California yearling sale.

Racing writer Ginsburg dies at 51

Debra Ginsburg, a writer for the California Thoroughbred magazine since 1985, died June 30 in Fresno after a brief illness. Ginsburg was 51.

Ginsburg was a fixture at Southern California tracks in recent years, chronicling the results of California-bred stakes and major sales throughout the region. She frequently wrote features in the California Thoroughbred, reflecting on the leading statebreds in history.

Services were held in Fresno last Monday. Donations in her memory can be made to the Christopher Reeve Foundation and the American Cancer Society.