09/28/2010 3:07PM

Oak Tree, Santa Anita to present TOC with plans for 2011 meets


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Officials with the Oak Tree Racing Association and Santa Anita are scheduled to make presentations to the board of directors of the Thoroughbred Owners of California on Thursday regarding their respective proposals to host six weeks of racing in the fall of 2011.

At the California Horse Racing Board meeting last Thursday, the racing board did not take action on the 2011 Southern California Thoroughbred calendar, with chairman Keith Brackpool urging racing associations and horsemen’s groups to conduct discussions before the next racing board meeting on Oct. 14.

TOC president Arnold Zetcher said Tuesday that his organization expects to hear detailed proposals from Oak Tree and Santa Anita on Thursday.

“We expect them to come armed with numbers and purse structures,” Zetcher said. “We’re going to dedicate adequate time to listen to both sides of the case.”

Oak Tree ran a fall meeting at Santa Anita from 1969 to 2009 and has moved that meeting to Hollywood Park this fall. The 22-day season begins Thursday evening.

Oak Tree’s lease with Santa Anita for a 2010 meeting there was voided by Santa Anita’s parent company, MI Developments, earlier this year. In June, the two sides reached an agreement for the meeting to be held at Santa Anita for one more year this fall, but the TOC and the California Thoroughbred Trainers organization opposed the plan in August, citing concern about the integrity of Santa Anita’s synthetic track.

As a result, Oak Tree moved its meeting to Hollywood Park this fall.

Oak Tree has an agreement to race at Hollywood Park in 2011, but Santa Anita officials told the racing board last week that the track wants to operate a fall meeting of its own through a subsidiary of MI Developments, the Pacific Racing Association.

Zetcher told the racing board that his organization wanted to hear proposals from Oak Tree and Santa Anita “not just from a financial point of view, but a fan’s view and an owner’s view.”

At the racing board meeting, Santa Anita officials argued that autumn dates have been traditionally run at that track, and that Santa Anita can draw larger crowds and offer higher purses than Hollywood Park. Oak Tree officials argued that their organization has a history of operating a fall meeting, and with a not-for-profit, has distributed monies to a variety of racing charities in recent years. Oak Tree has held discussions with Del Mar about relocating its meeting to the San Diego County track beginning in 2012.

Zetcher said Tuesday it was unclear whether the TOC would endorse one of the two organizations before the California Horse Racing Board meets again Oct. 14.

“We’ve got to get past this meeting on Thursday,” Zetcher said. “We’ll be in a more knowledgeable position on Thursday than we are now.”

Eclair de Lune to skip Yellow Ribbon

Eclair de Lune, winner of the Grade 1 Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park on Aug. 21, is expected to pass Saturday’s $250,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes at Hollywood Park and will be trained up to the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5.

Trainer Ron McAnally is currently in Europe on a horse-buying trip, but his assistant, Dan Landers, said that Eclair de Lune is on course for the Filly and Mare Turf.

“We’ll just wait for the Breeders’ Cup,” Landers said. McAnally “has been very patient with her, and it’s paid off.”

Owned by Richard Duchossois, Eclair de Lune won the Beverly D. by 1 1/2 lengths. The third-place finisher in that field – Gypsy’s Warning – is among the candidates for an open running of the Yellow Ribbon. Trained by Graham Motion, Gypsy’s Warning, a South African-bred 5-year-old, won the Grade 3 Eatontown Handicap at Monmouth Park in her U.S. debut in May.

Other probable starters include Go Forth North, Hibaayeb, Lilly Fa Pootz, Princess Taylor, Restless Soul, and Turning Top.

Hibaayeb, owned by the Maktoum family’s Godolphin Racing, was in quarantine Tuesday, having arrived from England. She won the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at the Royal Ascot meeting in England in June but has been unplaced in her last three starts. Hibaayeb was seventh in the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks in England in her last start Aug. 19.

Lilly Fa Pootz will be starting in the longest race of her career in the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon, which is run over 1 1/4 miles on turf. A former claimer trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, she had an outstanding Del Mar meeting, winning the restricted Osunitas Handicap on July 24, finishing second by a nose in the John Mabee Stakes on Aug. 15, and ending a fast-closing third in the Palomar Handicap on Sept. 6.

In the latter race over 1 1/16 miles, Lilly Fa Pootz chased a slow pace and was beaten three-quarters of a length by Gotta Have Her.