Jockeys workout with their thoroughbreds at Santa Anita Tuesday morning as the Breeder’s Cup announcement was made – Photos by Terry Miller
By Terry Miller
This weekend marks the closing of the regular racing season at Santa Anita and begins a new chapter in Santa Anita’s history with some major track improvements slated prior to Breeders’ Cup in November. This, combined with the millions invested in the interior improvements of the iconic Chandelier Room and other major facility upgrades was a determining factor in the decision made by Breeders’ Cup officials.
“The Great Race Place truly fits our model to a T,” said Peter Rotondo, Breeders Vice President of media and entertainment as he told media reps of the three-year plan Tuesday Morning at Clocker’s Corner.
Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky will host in 2015, Santa Anita in 2016 and, for the first time, Del Mar in San Diego will host in 2017.
The prestigious, international event is thoroughbred racing’s year-end championships. About a dozen races are run over two days which garner world-wide attention for sportsmanship and champion racehorses.
Santa Anita President Tom Ludt, who is on the Breeders’ Cup board, said the board felt like the event should rotate after being held at Santa Anita three years in a row.
Santa Anita Park, as the host site of the 2016 Breeders’ Cup World Championships will be the ninth time that Santa Anita, one of the most iconic tracks in the country, will play host to the Breeders’ Cup. The event will be held on November 4-5, 2016.
The announcement marks the second time in the event’s history and the first time since 1993 that the Breeders’ Cup has revealed on the same day more than one future host site for the World Championships. In addition to Santa Anita, the brand’s multi-year location strategy includes bringing the event to Keeneland Race Course, in Lexington, Ky. in 2015 and Del Mar, near San Diego, Calif. in 2017.
“Bringing the Breeders’ Cup back to Santa Anita Park in 2016 further solidifies the Championships as a leading global sports and entertainment event held at one of the world’s most magnificent racing venues,” said Craig Fravel, Breeders’ Cup President and CEO. “As the only track that will have hosted the Breeders’ for three consecutive years, we welcome the opportunity to work again with Santa Anita management and staff, the Stronach Group, the Thoroughbred Owners of California and the Los Angeles community in delivering to our horsemen and fans an outstanding experience of world class racing and entertainment.”
Iconic Santa Anita Park, which opened on Dec. 25, 1934, has recently undergone $35 million in capital improvements to areas such as the Club House Box Seat Area, Chandelier Room, Turf Terrace, Eddie Logan Suite and private suites atop the Grandstand Club House Box Seat Area. The Great Race Place will host the Breeders’ Cup World Championships for an unprecedented third consecutive year on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, and is proud to have been selected to host the event for a record ninth time in 2016-
“We are excited and grateful to host the 2016 Breeders’ Cup World Championships,” said Tom Ludt, President of Santa Anita Park. “Santa Anita Park offers horsemen, local fans and our many out-of-town guests the opportunity to experience the best that the sport has to offer, from racing to dining and hospitality. We look forward to working with the Breeders’ Cup to put on a very successful event both this year and again in 2016”
The multi-year host site decision is part of Breeders’ Cup larger, forward-thinking growth strategy to showcase the best of what Thoroughbred racing has to offer and is an extension of the brand’s “The Best Is Yet To Come” campaign which promises a curated Thoroughbred racing experience that will attract the best horses, the best owners and the best marketing partners.
Both Keeneland, which will be the site of next year’s event on October 30 and 31, and Del Mar, which will have the 2017 Breeders’ Cup on November 3 and 4, will be hosting the Breeders’ Cup for the first time in the event’s 30-year history. All event dates are pending approval by the tracks’ respective states.