05/28/2013 8:14PM

Little progress solving stabling issue in Southern California

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Executives with Southern California’s racetracks and horsemen’s groups were unable to reach a resolution for off-track stabling in 2014 at a two-hour meeting at Santa Anita on Tuesday.

With Betfair Hollywood Park scheduled to close in December, more than 1,200 horses will be displaced from that barn area, creating an urgent need for alternative stabling at other venues in the region.

While Tuesday’s meeting ended without significant progress, further discussions are scheduled for Thursday between officials with the Thoroughbred Owners of California and the California Thoroughbred Trainers association, according to CTT president Jim Cassidy.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Cassidy said that both the TOC and CTT reiterated positions regarding off-track stabling that were discussed extensively at the California Horse Racing Board meeting in Sacramento last Thursday.

TOC officials have recommended that 500 horses be located at Los Alamitos in Orange County and approximately 500 horses be based at San Luis Rey Downs training center in northern San Diego county.

San Luis Rey Downs is owned by The Stronach Group, which owns Santa Anita. The Stronach Group has committed to a refurbishment of the main track and stables at San Luis Rey Downs this year, and has said that the construction of a turf course is planned.

CTT officials prefer that a majority of horses stabled off-track be housed at Barretts Racing at Fairplex Park in Pomona, approximately 20 miles from Santa Anita.

Cassidy said that Thursday’s meeting will focus on presenting proposal that will make Fairplex Park a viable option. One possibility, he said, is charging stall rent, which is not a current practice at Southern California racetracks.

“We showed them the numbers and what it would take,” Cassidy said on Tuesday afternoon. “We have 48 hours to come up with a proposal. I don’t think we got very far.”

Cassidy said there are concerns among trainers about being forced to split stables between Santa Anita and other venues. He said that five trainers have told him that if they are forced to divide their stables that they would strongly consider quitting, or moving horses to another state.

“Our biggest concern is that in the next year it will be a disaster,” Cassidy said. “Open Fairplex for a year and see how it works. If it works, fine. If not, I don’t know what we’ll do.”

The overall cost of operating off-track stabling is a major concern for all parties.

Since the late 1980s, the cost of off-track stabling has been offset by a portion of mutuel handle from off-track betting locations, such as racetracks not operating live racing or simulcasting locations. With the migration of off-track betting to account wagering sources through the internet and telephone in the last decade, the amount of money from that fund has been severely depleted.

The finances will be a major discussion on Thursday, according to Joe Morris, the incoming president of the TOC.

“It still comes down to where do we come up with the money,” he said.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why doesn't the state purchase Rancho Paseana to board horses there? They have a training track & stables. Not sure how many can be boarded there, but it's a viable property. And Jenny Craig is trying to sell it.
Marc Ferrell More than 1 year ago
Last time I looked there is a ton of parking space behind Santa Anita's 3/4 and 1/2 mile pole. Has anyone talked about building more stalls for the horses at Santa Anita?
Chet Dudzinski More than 1 year ago
It seems to me that Stronach will be the largest beneficiary of the de facto monopoly. Let that billionaire solve HIS problem
mikey More than 1 year ago
Thank you betfair.They did not get the wagering they wanted so like a kid they will take the ball and go home.This bunch is the lowest thing to hit racing in years.Stronach just wants to run everybody out of town and rule the world.Hard to guess which one is the devil.
Nick Palermino More than 1 year ago
Mikey... you got it wrong. The company to blame is CDI (Churchill Downs) when they recklessly sold HP to the non-racing development group. You see CDI did not do their due diligence when they purchased HP and when they relaized that the Indian Tribal Lobbiest in Sacramento controlled the state in terms of obtaining slots they abandond HP. Betfair is no more than a naming sponsor like a stadium... ie Petco Park.
Cookie Smith More than 1 year ago
build a dubai type track in vegas and run under the lights...
Gerardo Helguera More than 1 year ago
Why do that when Santa Anita could run under the lights. Santa Anita is a beautiful facility under the San Gabriel Mountains and running under the lights in May, June and July would be perfect. They would also attract bigger crowds, fact!
James Madden More than 1 year ago
You got it Gerardo!...I was hauling the horses out of Pomona at the last harness meet there....Twilight racing was cool and breezy in the summer...But nobody showed up so they all moved out...Beautiful scenery and perfect weather!
Ron Crookham More than 1 year ago
Funny you should mention it Cookie, we are in the process of getting a track built here in Las Vegas. It is going to take awhile, glaciers move faster than public offcials :)
Frank Leverone More than 1 year ago
Stalls for 3000 horses are needed? On average during a 4 day week, about 260 horses run. So, if there are 3000 horses stabled in the "free zone", that means the average horse that is stabled at SA or HOL runs once every 12 weeks or 4 times per year. What is the day rate the trainers are charging? 100 per day? If so, the 3000 horses are generating 2.1 million per week for trainers on the day rate whether they run or not. The tracks are willing to provide free housing, water, lights, and training facilities to horses that run once every 12 weeks? More stalls might not be the problem. More stalls would only give "trainers" more free space to sell "$100.00 /day training services" for animals that are not racing. If you can not fill 34 races a week from 2000 stalls, 3000 or even 4000 stalls will not solve the problem. "Trainers" that don't train and "Race Horses" that don't race are the problem.
James Madden More than 1 year ago
Tell it like it is Frankie
Starr D More than 1 year ago
Can't someone just step up and buy Hollywood and keep it open? Problem solved!
Pablo More than 1 year ago
Believe me it has been tried. They will not sell. They want to develop it.
Nick Palermino More than 1 year ago
The company to blame is CDI (Churchill Downs) when they recklessly sold HP to the non-racing development group. You see CDI did not do their due diligence when they purchased HP and when they relaized that the Indian Tribal Lobbiest in Sacramento controlled the state in terms of obtaining slots they abandond HP. Churchill Downs is the root cause of this domino effect!
Mr. Ed More than 1 year ago
Maybe CHRB member Bo Derek can take a half dozen or so to stable on her farm with her Arabians.
Bruce Epstein More than 1 year ago
From an East Coast player, it would make better sense to close all except SA and DEL Mar and bring the balacne of the naggs to east coast tracks like Mth, Pim, LRL, Tam, CD and Turfway. Can't bet on 5 horse fieds in CA anyway. They made their bed, now it's time to lay in it and die off.
aaronrayk More than 1 year ago
How many stables does Del Mar have available?
Bruce Epstein More than 1 year ago
Fool, it's way too far away
Clyde Veltmann More than 1 year ago
Bruce you are the FOOL!
WafflesCharly More than 1 year ago
Del Mar's issue is not distance. It's only a 25 minute drive from San Luis Rey Downs. The problem is that Del Mar can not hold year round training, cuz the grounds belong to the County, and the facility hosts so many events thought the year, that even occupy large portions of the track itself, thus impossible to house racehorses all year