06/17/2011 12:19PM

Stronach sending 20-horse string to California

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Frank Stronach is sending 20 unraced 2-year-olds to California next month.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Frank Stronach is finalizing plans to send 20 2-year-olds to Southern California next month, fulfilling a promise he made in the summer of 2010 to support racing on the circuit when Santa Anita switched back to a dirt surface.

According to Mark Roberts, the general manager of Stronach’s Adena Springs South farm in Florida, the unraced 2-year-olds are scheduled to arrive in early July. The list of individual horses and the trainers that will receive them was expected to be finalized this weekend, Roberts said on Friday.

“All the details haven’t been finalized yet," Roberts said. "I’m still waiting on the okay for the list. Right now, if everything is okay, we have an arrangement for a flight by July 5.”

Stronach, who has been honored with the Eclipse Award as the nation’s outstanding breeder seven times and as outstanding owner on four occasions, is chairman of MI Developments, the parent company of Santa Anita.

Last summer, Stronach announced that Santa Anita would remove its synthetic track, which had been plagued by drainage issues, and replace it with a sand-and-clay track. At the time, Stronach said that he would support Santa Anita by sending a group of horses to Southern California.

Stronach did not have any horses at Santa Anita for the track’s winter-spring meeting earlier this year, the first season on the new surface. Roberts said the plan was to have a group of unraced 2-year-olds bred by Stronach begin their careers in California this year.

“That was the always the plan, to send the 2-year-olds and let the trainers start their careers,” Roberts said. “We’re not going to push them. Most of our horses are later-developing pedigrees. They’re not early 2-year-old-type pedigrees. I wouldn’t expect to see any of them running until the fall or the winter.”

Santa Anita’s next race meeting is scheduled to start on Sept. 29.

The 20-horse stable is Stronach’s largest commitment to Southern California racing in years, and perhaps the most he has had on the circuit. He has campaigned such notable runners as Milwaukee Brew, who won the Santa Anita Handicap in 2002-03 for the late Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel.