01/19/2012 2:46PM

Stronach promises at CHRB meeting that Santa Anita will remain a racetrack


ARCADIA, Calif. – Santa Anita chairman Frank Stronach told the California Horse Racing Board on Thursday that the track will remain open for racing and will not be subject to development in the future.

Stronach and racing board chairman Keith Brackpool met earlier in the week to discuss the track’s future, with discussions expected to continue in coming months, the two men said.

“I would be willing to make some commitments that Santa Anita would remain a racetrack in perpetuity,” Stronach said. “I hope and am optimistic that we can have some very constructive conversations and those conversations that … horse racing is protected.

“Hopefully in the next few months we can come up with a new structure and agreement to secure Santa Anita will stay a racetrack in perpetuity.”

Stronach did not reveal details of his plan. “It may be a little premature to get into details,” Stronach said.

Santa Anita has not been mentioned as a target for development in recent years, although Hollywood Park in nearby Inglewood has.

Stronach is chairman of The Stronach Group, a private company that owns Santa Anita. The company also owns several other major racetracks in the United States, including Gulfstream Park in Florida and Laurel and Pimlico in Maryland.

“I don’t have to talk to shareholders,” Stronach said. “I have sufficient funds and I can do what I think should be done.

“If there is no racetrack, horse owners have to realize they horses wouldn’t be worth that much. In many cases, they don’t make the best riding horses. I think we have a lot of responsibility.”