|Thursday, April 19, 2007|
|Breeders' Cup to California|
The Breeders' Cup World Championships will return to Southern California, where the event began in 1984, for its 25th running, Breeders' Cup Limited announced today. The Breeders' Cup Board of Directors selected the Oak Tree Racing Association to host the 2008 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. Pending completion of a formal agreement between the two parties, the 25th Breeders’ Cup will be held on Friday, October 24 and Saturday, October 25, 2008, and will be televised live on ESPN.
“We’re excited to reunite with the Oak Tree Racing Association in returning to California and Santa Anita Park for our 25th Breeders’ Cup World Championships” said Bill Farish, chairman of Breeders’ Cup Ltd. “Santa Anita is one of the world’s great racing venues, an outstanding facility with a great tradition that will showcase top flight international racing for our fans.”
Santa Anita Park is scheduled to renovate its main track and install a new synthetic racing surface this summer, and racing on the new surface is scheduled to debut in September at the Oak Tree meeting. The 2008 Breeders’ Cup will be the first time that the main track races of the Championships will be contested over a synthetic surface.
“With the addition of new Breeders’ Cup World Championships races and the two-day format, and as we continue to build and promote the Breeders’ Cup brand nationally and internationally, our track partners must meet the highest standards,” said Breeders’ Cup president and CEO Greg Avioli. “Oak Tree at Santa Anita is an ideal venue for the world’s best horses and horsemen, our television partner, ESPN, and our sponsors.”
“Breeders’ Cup and Oak Tree have made a great team, setting records in each of the three years (1986, 1993 and 2003) Oak Tree has hosted Breeders’ Cup Day,” said Sherwood Chillingworth, executive vice president, Oak Tree Racing Association. “Therefore, we are looking forward to joining again in the presentation of the 25th renewal, October 24th and 25th of 2008. We are again aiming at breaking the on-track wagering record in 2008.
“This will be a groundbreaking Breeders’ Cup,” Chillingworth added. “It will be the first to be run on a synthetic surface and the second time it will be a two-day event. Add in the natural beauty of Santa Anita, the outstanding Southern California weather and the new stakes program to be run on Friday. We expect this to be a Breeders’ Cup weekend to remember.”
This will be the seventh time the Breeders' Cup has been held in Southern California and the fourth time that the Oak Tree Racing Association has hosted the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita Park. Oak Tree previously hosted the event in 1986, 1993 and in 2003. Hollywood Park hosted the inaugural Breeders' Cup in 1984 and again in 1987 and 1997.
Earlier this year, the Breeders' Cup issued an RFP for 2008, 2009 and 2010 to top racing venues in the U.S. and abroad. Avioli indicated that the board would evaluate proposals for 2009 and 2010 at its next meeting in July.
The Breeders” Cup World Championships consists of 11 races with purses and awards totaling $23 million. After adding three additional $1 million Breeders’ Cup races to the 2007 event, Breeders’ Cup officials indicated that additional races may be added in future years.
Some of the greatest moments in Breeders’ Cup history have taken place at the Oak Tree meeting at Santa Anita Park. The 1986 Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, before a crowd of 69,155, featured the wire-to-wire victory by Horse of the Year Lady’s Secret in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. The 1993 Breeders’ Cup saw the biggest upset winner in Breeders’ Cup history, when Arcangues won the Breeders’ Cup Classic at odds of 133-1. In 2003, Richard Mandella became the first trainer to win four Breeders’ Cup races in a single day, capturing the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, the Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, the John Deere Breeders’ Cup Turf and the Breeders’ Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge. The 2003 Breeders’ Cup was also memorable for the first dead-heat in a Breeders’ Cup race, when Johar and High Chaparral hit the wire together in the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
Oak Tree Racing Association was formed in 1969 as a not-for-profit organization with all of its net profits going to charitable entities, predominantly those equine-related. Since its inception, Oak Tree has contributed more than $25 million for these purposes.
This year’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships will be held on Friday, October 26 and Saturday, October 27 at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J. This will be the first Breeders’ Cup to be conducted over two days. Friday’s program will debut three new $1 million Breeders’ Cup races. The Championships will conclude on Saturday with eight Breeders Cup races.
Breeders’ Cup Limited administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships; Thoroughbred racing’s year-end Championships consisting of 11 races and $23 million in purses. The organization also administers the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, and the Breeders’ Cup Stakes Program. Breeders’ Cup Ltd. is located in Lexington, Ky. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the NTRA Web site, ntra.com, and at the Web site for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, breederscup.com.