By Ray Paulick
The Breeders' Cup has announced a press conference for tomorrow, June 11 at 10 a.m., at Churchill Downs where it is expected the Louisville, Ky. track will be named host site for the 2011 Breeders' Cup. In attendance will be Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, Breeders' Cup chairman Bill Farish, Breeders' Cup President and CEO Greg Avioli, Churchill Downs Inc. President and CEO Bob Evans and Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery.
The 2010 Breeders' Cup championships will be held on Nov. 5-6 at Churchill Downs, the seventh time the championships will be held at the Louisville track.
Breeders' Cup officials had been leaning toward naming the Oak Tree Racing Association at Santa Anita the host for up to five years, from 2011-15, until MI Developments, which assumed ownership of Santa Anita during bankruptcy proceedings for Magna Developments, voided Oak Tree's lease. Breeders' Cup officials also had sought assurances from Santa Anita's owner that the drainage problems involving the Pro-Ride synthetic surface be resolved. The Breeders' Cup did not insist a new track be installed, contrary to published reports quoting MI Developments CEO Dennis Mills as saying, the Paulick Report has learned.
Oak Tree/Santa Anita has hosted the Breeders' Cup five times.
Belmont Park was also considered a potential host site for 2011, but financial uncertainties involving its operator, the New York Racing Association, complicated its chances. NYRA recently received a $25-million loan from the state of New York in order to avoid a shutdown following the recent Belmont Stakes. NYRA officials are hoping a long-awaited announcement will be made later this year to name an operator of a VLT casino at Aqueduct racetrack, which should ensure the association financial security.
The decision to award the 2011 Breeders' Cup was made weeks ago, but the announcement was delayed until after the Belmont Stakes in deference to NYRA.
The New York Racing Association has hosted the Breeders' Cup five times, four at Belmont Park and once at Aqueduct.
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