California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has agreed to chair the Breeders’ Cup Host Committee, which will promote horse racing’s most prestigious international event, the 2008 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, to be held at Santa Anita Park on October 24-25.
“The very first Breeders’ Cup was run in California, and so it is a special honor to host the 25th running of horse racing’s most prestigious championship races at Santa Anita during the Oak Tree season,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “The event will not only showcase one of the world’s most beautiful racetracks but also will generate more than $100 million for the California economy. I am looking forward to working with the other members of the Host Committee to ensure its success.
“We are proud of our world class racetracks and, in particular, of the Oak Tree Racing Association, which has been chosen to host the Breeders’ Cup this year and next, an unprecedented achievement.”
The Breeders’ Cup World Championships will be held at Santa Anita Park for the fourth time and this year’s running marks the seventh time that the Breeders’ Cup will be held in the Golden State. The 2009 Breeders’ Cup will also be held at Santa Anita Park, marking the first time that a Breeders’ Cup has returned to the same track in consecutive years.
The Breeders’ Cup consists of two days of international racing at its best. There are 14 races with purses totaling $25.5 million, making the Breeders’ Cup the richest prize-money event in sports. Now celebrating its 25th year, the Breeders’ Cup annually draws fans from five continents for the Championships.
Friday’s program features the first ever all female racing program, highlighted by five Breeders’ Cup races. The action continues on Championship Saturday with nine open male Breeders’ Cup races. Each year, the Breeders’ Cup draws the top horses, jockey and trainers from more than a dozen countries around the globe, battling for championship honors. This year’s races will also be televised domestically with an unprecedented nine hours of two-day coverage on ABC and ESPN and in more than 120 countries.
“We are looking forward with great anticipation to being the initial hosts for the Breeders’ Cup Championships by Oak Tree at Santa Anita Park for two consecutive years,” said Sherwood Chillingworth,” Executive Vice President of the Oak Tree Racing Association. “This will be the first Breeders’ Cup conducted on a synthetic surface and free of any steroid use by any participating horse. It is a series of three firsts in Breeders’ Cup’s twenty-five year history, and Oak Tree is proud to be part of their innovations.
“In addition Oak Tree appreciates the presence of the members of the Host Committee and the Operations Committee, who are an essential part of planning these events, with a particular acknowledgement to our Chairman, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.”
The Breeders’ Cup Host Committee is comprised of civic and business and horse racing industry leaders. The committee will work to increase awareness of the Breeders’ Cup throughout California and oversee the activities of numerous local ceremonies and special events surrounding this year’s event.
Photograph by Terry Miller