CHRB Assigns 2014-15 Dates in Post-Hollywood Era

by | 05.23.2013 | 10:48pm

The California Horse Racing Board has approved racing dates for 2014 and 2015 featuring an extended Santa Anita Park meeting that runs from its traditional Dec. 26 opening until after the Fourth of July along with a new autumn meeting at Del Mar. The changes to the traditional racing calendar became necessary after the owners of Betfair Hollywood Park said the 75-year-old track will run its final live race this year.

The issue of what is to become of the approximately 1,000 horses currently stabled at Hollywood Park has the Thoroughbred Owners of California and California Thoroughbred Trainers at odds. The TOC said 500 horses can stable year-round at San Luis Rey Downs in Bonsall, located about 100 miles south of Santa Anita Park via a heavily travelled Interstate. San Luis Rey, owned by the Stronach Group, is expected to undergo major renovation that would include a turf course training track. Another 500 can stable at Los Alamitos in Orange County, about 30 miles to the south of Santa Anita, TOC said.

CTT wants Fairplex Park, which can accommodate approximately 1,200 horses, to serve as a year-round stabling center. It is located 20 miles east of Santa Anita.

The dates assigned by the CHRB are:

Santa Anita Park: Dec. 26, 2013-July 6, 2014
Del Mar: July 16-Sept. 3
Fairplex Park: Sept. 4-23
Santa Anita Park: Sept. 25-Nov. 2
Del Mar: Nov. 5-Dec. 7

Santa Anita Park: Dec. 26-2014-July 5, 2015
Del Mar: July 15-Sept. 7
Fairplex Park Sept. 10-25
Santa Anita Park: Sept. 26-Oct. 25
Del Mar: Oct. 28-Dec. 6

An executive with Los Alamitos said the primarily Quarter horse track will likely request December Thoroughbred dates that are now open between the end of the Del Mar fall meeting and opening of Santa Anita.

Scott Daruty, speaking on behalf of the Stronach Group, owners of Santa Anita Park, said he is confident the Breeders' Cup will be conducted at the Arcardia track in 2014, which would mark the third consecutive year it would be held there. At issue is a position taken earlier this year by TOC that the owners' organization is not interested in the 2014 Breeders' Cup being held in California unless Breeders' Cup changes its medication rules and allows race-day administration of Lasix for all races. The current Breeders' Cup policy is to prohibit Lasix in races for 2-year-olds.

Del Mar has expressed interest in the 2015 Breeders' Cup and will widen its turf course to accommodate more runners than it  can now permit. Unless the TOC or Breeders' Cup changes position on medication, that doesn't seem likely.

The meeting, held in Sacramento and audiocast on the web, was often raucous and featured multiple obscenities from David Israel, who in January 2013 took over as chairman of the regulatory board. Stabling issues were not resolved to the satisfaction of all parties and further meetings on that issues are to be held. For that reason, the dates assigned for the next two years are considered “conditional.”

  • Dantana

    Mr. Israel’s behavior was unacceptable. We expect our regulatory boards to act in a professional and respectful manner.

    • Old Timer

      haha you mean like “Scratch your car” Shapiro!

      Maybe we should call Shapiro “Scratch”, and Isreal “Bibi” for Benjamin Netanyahuof Prime Minister of Israel since he’s known to have an overall bad attitude.

      Its is sad though that they didn’t take the opportunity to really shake things up and try a different racing date model that would incorporate the entire state.

  • Nancy Taylor

    Nothing has changed, total lack of leadership in the industry. Owners, Trainers, Dmr and SA all trying to get a bigger piece of the shrinking pie still can not agree on the critical stabling issue and who is going to pay for it. The clock is ticking and they are still kicking the can down the road. The Jan 1 cliff is fast approaching, its time to s*** or get off the pot.

    • As noted in my other response, what is needed is outside of Summer No. Cal and So. Cal merge into one circuit. Stronach may get the bulk of the race dates in California, but NOT the way he envisioned it with Santa Anita and Golden Gate becoming for most of the year a single circuit.

      • Nancy Taylor

        With all these unsolved problems on the horizon, John Sherriffs isn’t going to be the only trainer to leave. The horse inventory is surely going to go from bad to worse under the present business model. The single circuit idea (Golden Gate race alone for 2-3 months) is the only logical solution to this disaster, but it will never happen.

        • Agree, they are too stupid to realize that aside from the summer (and that’s only because Del Mar gets a lot of shippers for their main meet) along with limited exceptions otherwise the need to race most of the year as a single circuit (only Santa Anita in the winter and early spring AND part of the fall, only Golden Gate in late spring/early summer and late fall). That is what is needed.

  • T.N.

    If I were training a horse out there the last thing I would want it to do would be sit on a van from San Luis Rey to Santa Anita in rush hour traffic. Further I wouldn’t want it walking up and down the asphalt and concrete barn area at Los Alamitos every morning on the way to training.

    Everybody saw this coming and no one thought out a good solid solution for the horse. That is the true shame.

  • mike g rutherford

    Hopefully Del Mar will go back to Greatness with a dirt track! It would be a fun place to attend the Breeders Cup. mike g rutherford

  • This to me is a BIG mistake. What needs to be done is consolidation of the racing dates between Northern and Southern California outside of summer (and other limited exceptions), as I originally wrote about at:

    As I would do it in 2014:

    Santa Anita (main meet): December 26-Kentucky Derby Day (the meet would end on that Saturday, which in 2014 is May 3).

    Golden Gate: (spring meet) Kentucky Oaks Day (May 2 in 2014)-early July (approximately July 4)

    The Northern California Fairs would run as they do now, though some fairs would likely see their dates adjusted to reflect Golden Gate running a little later into the summer and NOT running in late August-early September.

    Del Mar: The Del Mar season would begin five days earlier than at present (beginning the Friday before the meet currently does which in 2014 would be July 11) and would conclude three days later than at present (Saturday after Labor Day, in 2014 September 6). The San Diego County Fair (along with many other state fairs) may need to have their dates changed to accommodate a slightly earlier start to Del Mar’s racing season.

    Fairplex Park: Meet would begin the day after Del Mar ends their season (in 2014, Sunday, Sept. 7) with 14 days of racing that would include three Mondays, including a closing Monday program on Sept 22.

    Santa Anita (Autumn meet): Meet in 2014 would start where it has been in recent years in late September (Friday, Sept. 26 for ’14) and would run through Breeders’ Cup Saturday, which would be November 1 in 2014 and closing day.

    Golden Gate: (Autumn meet): This meet in 2014 would start on Breeders’ Cup Friday (October 31) and conclude Saturday, December 20.

    Del Mar (Thanksgiving Meet): This would be just a four-day meet on Thanksgiving weekend that would run all of Hollywood Park’s Autumn Turf Festival Stakes, including the Matriarch, Hollywood Derby, Citation and Generous.

    Most of Hollywood Park’s stakes races would move north and be run at Golden Gate. Del Mar would get a few at the start of their summer meet (most notably the Affirmed and Swaps) while Santa Anita gets a handful of early season Hollywood stakes (except the Gold Rush, which would be pushed back and run at Golden Gate).

    With the impending Horse shortage, this is how it needs to be done.

  • amgm1431

    Has anyone here ever stood on the backstretch of Del Mar in light rain???????? In one hour you may be getting out the trenching shovels. i had to do that in Barn O in 1990.

  • harry

    Well isn’t this a mess. Del Mar in November with stands empty for sure. Seems common sense to let Del Mar run straight through to September 23. Fairplex then runs their 19 days or whatever there meets run followed by Santa Anita until December 6,2014. Del Mar in November will never be profitable for sure. Only if and when they get Breeders Cup.!! 500 stalls 100 miles from Santa Anita are you serious??? I cannot imagine the Breeders Cup Committee even considering Santa Anita for 2014 Breeders Cup races. Looks like local horsemen getting raw deal again with no where comparable to Hollywood Park to stable and train horses. Los Al and Fairplex are you serious!!! Bullrings with no turf course. Wow!! Somebody needs to build a training facility comparable to Fair Hill in Elkton,Maryland so trainers in California can at least train on a mile track. Bullring tracks to train?????? Very evident closing of Hollywood Park will effect Southern California racing for years and years. Why year round racing??? Lets rest horses in July for 3 weeks. Year round racing is so so wrong. I really feel for trainers in Southern California there expenses will go through the ceiling. I wonder how many displaced employees who work at Hollywood Park will get jobs at Santa Anita?? Nobody wins and everybody loses. Sad so so sad!!!!

    • Hoops and Horses

      The TOC and others need to realize the best thing would be a return to the days prior to 1967 when racing most of the year was either in Northern OR Southern California, NOT BOTH. Maybe some revisions could be made to allow some of the lower class horses for whom shipping would be prohibitive to race at Los Al when the main thoroughbred racing is at Golden Gate, with Los Al allowed to run up to $7,500 claimers at any distance for T-Breds during that time. Otherwise, racing in California (outside of summer) needs to be consolidated into a single circuit as the horse population likely dictates that.

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