05/23/2002 11:00PM

Fair requests move to Santa Anita


Live racing will no longer be offered at Fairplex Park in Pomona if the California Horse Racing Board approves a request by the Los Angeles County Fair to relocate its racing dates to Santa Anita this September, according to a top fair official.

On Thursday, officials with the Los Angeles County Fair Association announced they had reached an agreement with Magna Entertainment, the parent company of Santa Anita, to change the venue of the fair meeting, which is scheduled for Sept. 13-29.

The change must be approved by the California Horse Racing Board at its regularly scheduled monthly meeting at Bay Meadows on June 8.

The Los Angeles County Fair meet has been run at Fairplex Park for 63 seasons, beginning in 1933.

Mike Seder, the chief financial officer of the Los Angeles County Fair Association, said if the relocation is approved, Fairplex Park would continue to offer satellite betting and operate as a training center, provided it continues to receive funding from the state's offtrack handle.

In addition, Fairplex Park has an agreement in place to offer the Barretts Sale Company a racetrack at which to conduct presale workouts, Seder said. Barretts is located adjacent to Fairplex Park.

The relocation has been criticized by Oak Tree and Hollywood Park.

Oak Tree annually runs a fall meeting at Santa Anita, and Oak Tree officials are concerned that a fair meeting at Santa Anita in September will lead to lower handle and smaller fields in October.

Hollywood Park officials considered hosting the Los Angeles County Fair meeting earlier this year, but negotiations broke down. Hollywood is owned by Churchill Downs Inc.

"We intend to oppose moving the dates to Magna," said Hollywood Park president Rick Baedeker.

The relocation would not change the composition of the fair meeting, which includes races for cheaper Thoroughbreds and one or two races a day for Appaloosas and Quarter Horses, Seder said.

Seder said that if the board rejects the relocation request, the L.A. County Fair meeting could be run at Fairplex Park again this year.