The Breeders’ Cup will remain at Santa Anita Park this fall as scheduled despite an alarming number of equine fatalities at the racetrack’s recently concluded meet.
Breeders’ Cup Limited announced Thursday after meeting with its Board of Directors that the two-day world championships are still a go for Nov. 1-2 at the picturesque southern California track.
It’ll be the 10th time Santa Anita hosts the Breeders’ Cup, the most of any track in the event’s 36-year history.
There had been speculation that, because the death of 30 horses drew worldwide attention and calls to shut down racing altogether, the Breeders’ Cup might be moved to another venue, perhaps Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
Craig Fravel, president and CEO of the Breeders’ Cup, said he believes ‘’meaningful and effective reforms’’ have been put in place by The Stronach Group, which owns and operates Santa Anita.
“We fully embrace those reforms and will devote our time and energy in the coming months to further advance those efforts,’’ said Favel in a statement. “We look forward to showing the world the best in thoroughbred racing at one of its finest venues.”
The Breeders’ Cup features 14 races over two days with purses totaling more than $30 million.
Last week, two-time Triple Crown winning trainer Bob Baffert, based in southern California, said “we need it so badly, just for morale. The morale has been so low here.”
Following the decision to stay at Santa Anita, racing organizations supported the move. Here are some of the statements released:
“The NTRA fully supports the decision of the Breeders’ Cup Board of Directors to affirm its commitment to host the 2019 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park on November 1-2. California regulators, racetrack operators, owners, and horsemen have worked together to institute significant and effective reforms and we
will lend our assistance in all capacities to ensure this year’s two-day event is a rousing success.” – Alex Waldrop, president and CEO, National Thoroughbred Racing Association.
“Thank you to the Breeders’ Cup Board of Directors for their support today in reaffirming their commitment to host the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita this November. Santa Anita and The Stronach Group remain steadfast in our commitment to put the health and safety of the horses and riders above all else and we are pleased that the Breeders’ Cup board recognized and shares in that goal. We also thank our state’s industry stakeholders, including the Thoroughbred Owners of California, the California Thoroughbred Trainers, the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association, the California Horse Racing Board, along with the hard-working men and women who work directly with the horses, and those employees who take care of our customers, for embracing the reforms that have been put in place this winter at Santa Anita as we collectively work towards making California racing the safest and best in the world.” – Belinda Stronach, chairman, The Stronach Group.
“Keeneland fully supports the decision of the Breeders’ Cup Board of Directors to keep the 2019 World Championships at Santa Anita. We know it was not undertaken lightly, and required extensive thought and discussion by all parties involved. Given the continued reforms implemented by The Stronach Group for the safety of horses and jockeys, Santa Anita has positioned itself to be an appropriate host site for this year’s World Championships.’’ – Bill Thomason, president and CEO, Keeneland Association.
“Del Mar Thoroughbred Club fully supports Breeders’ Cup decision to remain at Santa Anita Park in 2019. This was an important recognition of the efforts undertaken by all of California racing and we appreciate the continued support. We also look forward to hosting the World Championships here at Del Mar again in 2021.” – Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.