03/31/2013 1:51PM

Santa Anita: Shirreffs intends to stable string of horses at Belmont Park

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Benoit & Associates
John Shirreffs intends to move to New York this spring, but intends to keep 25 to 30 horses in Southern California.

ARCADIA, Calif.- Trainer John Shirreffs will have a stable in New York this spring, and plans to have divisions of his nationally prominent stable on two coasts in the future, he said on Sunday.

Shirreffs said he is in the process of contacting his clients to determine which horses will be sent to New York, and which will race in California. He said it was unclear how many horses would be based at Belmont Park in New York, but that approximately 25 to 30 would remain in California.

“I’ve got to talk to my owners and see what they’re comfortable with,” he said.

“I’ve got good people here so I would go to New York myself. It’s a dream of mine to train at Belmont. It would be fun to train over a mile and a half track.”

Shirreffs, 67, who is best known for training 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta, went to high school in Port Washington, N.Y., not far from Belmont Park.

Shirreffs said the split of his stable is partially a reflection on the changing circuit in Southern California. Shirreffs is based at Betfair Hollywood Park, which may close at the end of this year. Hollywood Park officials have not stated whether the track will be open for racing in 2014, and could be closed for residential and commercial development.

If that occurs, Santa Anita and Del Mar are expected to add racing dates. In the Los Angeles area, Barretts Racing at Fairplex Park in Pomona, Calif., is expected to request more Thoroughbred racing dates at times of the year when Hollywood Park previously ran. Los Alamitos, in Cypress, Calif., which has one of the nation’s leading Quarter Horse meetings, withdrew its standing as a potential site for expanded Thoroughbred racing last week.

“I don’t want to leave California,” Shirreffs said. “I love California. I’d have a barn here, probably at Santa Anita, and hopefully come back here for the winter.”

Shirreffs won the 2005 Kentucky Derby with Giacomo. Through Sunday, his stable has won with 5 of 29 starts and earned $399,078 in 2013.

Last year, the stable had 20 wins from 139 starters and earnings of $1,614,036. His best season was 2009, the year that Zenyatta won the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita, and the stable earned $5,706,892.

Bruce Baudoux More than 1 year ago
Obvious move, closer to the steroid company so imagine the savings on shipping costs alone!
jttf More than 1 year ago
what i find interesting is that shirreffs did not want zenyatta to run in new york. because giacomo and tiago had bad experiences in belmont's detention barns. hopefully the system in place is to his liking. i think he should go to keeneland and churchill. better suited for his horses' style of running.
Raymond Hackinson More than 1 year ago
NY racing needs more 'new blood' in the form of trainers and racing stock outside of the Saratoga meet.Just hope Shirreffs and any other trainers are aware of the rules in NY so their hopes aren't dashed
Maria Kern More than 1 year ago
We will miss him here in California. I wish him the best of luck in New York. He's a very nice person and good horseman.
Liz Coglianese More than 1 year ago
Lucky NY'ers! He is one of the kindest, most generous people in racing. I wish him all the best and will NEVER forget "meeting" the Queen. A highlight of my life. He is a good man and I wish for the fans and mostly for the horses, racing had many more John Shirreffs.
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
Hopefully he can show the New Yorkers how to train and race legally. And I love New York...
Maria Kern More than 1 year ago
Amen!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Blue collar trainer down to earth very good with claimers I think he will do good in NY. It will be good to see a new face here.
Mark. More than 1 year ago
John Shirreffs has done his part as an ambassador for thoroughbred racing. the fans love him and his crew. i hope john finds what makes him smile in new york. good luck.
KissmeCatexoxo More than 1 year ago
Let them try. He will teach them how to be real and a true horseman.
tyc More than 1 year ago
Real Estates is expensive in CA.