09/24/2010 4:41PM

California board delays 2011 dates decision

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POMONA, Calif. – The California Horse Racing Board postponed a decision on assigning 2011 Thoroughbred racing dates at its monthly meeting on Thursday to allow continued discussion about which organization should be granted fall dates in Southern California.

The board must decide whether Santa Anita should host its own six-week meeting or whether the Oak Tree Racing Association should run a meeting at Hollywood Park.

Officials from Oak Tree and Santa Anita appealed to the racing board for the dates, but the board’s chairman, Keith Brackpool, said the issue would be discussed at the racing board meeting on Oct. 14 at the earliest to allow further discussions.

The Thoroughbred Owners of California has asked representatives of Oak Tree and Hollywood Park to speak at that organization’s monthly board meeting on Thursday to discuss the fall dates in question, Sept. 28 to Nov. 6.

Oak Tree operated a fall meeting at Santa Anita from 1969 until 2009, but will run at Hollywood Park this fall. The association’s lease with Santa Anita’s parent company, MI Developments, was voided earlier this year after Santa Anita’s previous parent company, Magna Entertainment, declared bankruptcy. Oak Tree and MI Developments agreed to have Oak Tree run at Santa Anita this fall until horsemen’s groups united in opposition in August, citing concern over the condition of Santa Anita’s synthetic surface.

The board also deferred a decision on whether to allow MI Developments a waiver from California laws that prohibit one company from owning more than one racetrack. MI Developments owns Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields as well as the XpressBet account wagering service. Brackpool said he wants further information from MI Developments on issues such as financial history and a commitment for long-term operation of all assets.