By Tom LaMarra
Three Southern California racetracks and the Thoroughbred Owners of California have agreed to a three-year calendar that maintains year-round racing.
The stakeholders were asked to come up with a proposal, which was discussed at the California Horse Racing Board Race Dates Committee meeting Aug. 22 and will be before the full CHRB Aug. 25. CHRB spokesman Mike Marten said the committee will recommend approval of the three-year racing schedule supported by the tracks and the TOC.
The agreed-upon schedules for 2017-19 are uniform with the exception of how the calendar falls. Los Alamitos Race Course would offer three Thoroughbred meets per year, and there would be no break in the Santa Anita Park meet, which would span winter, spring, and early summer; this year Los Alamitos raced for a few weeks in April.
Under the proposal for 2017, Santa Anita would begin its meet Dec. 26, 2016, and run through July 4, 2017. Los Alamitos would race July 6-16; Del Mar from July 19-Sept. 4; Los Alamitos from Sept. 7-Sept. 24; Santa Anita Sept. 29-Oct. 29; Del Mar Nov. 1-26; and Los Alamitos Nov.30-Dec. 17.
Total dates for Southern California would be 214, according to the calendar submitted to the CHRB.
Del Mar will host the Breeders' Cup World Championships for the first time in 2017. A note under the proposed calendar for 2019 states that if Santa Anita is awarded the Breeders' Cup for that year, Del Mar will relinquish the first week of November to accommodate it.
The Northern California schedules for the next three years are more complicated as there isn't consensus from all parties. The California Authority of Racing Fairs, the Sonoma County Fair—no longer a CARF member—and Golden Gate Fields all submitted different proposals.