Press Release, Santa Anita (July 28, 2023) – The Stronach Group’s 1/ST RACING today announced a plan to help consolidate racing operations in Southern California, invigorate an aging business model that has plagued California racing for decades and build on the state’s recent reforms that have vastly improved safety.
“We are confident that this comprehensive package of important measures will not only bolster the racing, training, owner and fan experience at Santa Anita Park, “The Great Race Place”, but also support Northern California stakeholders through a challenging transition period, and lead the way with state and industrywide changes that will result in a healthier, competitive and sustainable future for Thoroughbred racing in Southern California,” said Belinda Stronach, Chairwoman, Chief Executive Officer and President, The Stronach Group and 1/ST.
Among the steps and financial commitments announced today:
• Over $1 million to support the relocation of horses, trainers, jockeys, backstretch employees and caregivers from Golden Gate Fields to Santa Anita Park as part of the consolidation of racing in Southern California, and to support the California breeding program.
• A $4.5 million, brand-new all-weather synthetic track that will replace the existing training track at Santa Anita Park. This change will not only allow for the seamless transition of horses used to running on the synthetic track at Golden Gate Fields but will serve to improve the overall safety environment at Santa Anita Park.
• A commitment to fund a portion of 2024 heath care premiums for Golden Gate Field employees.
• The creation of a job board accessible to backside employees to support the transition to Santa Anita Park.
• An investment of $500,000+ (over two years) towards building a state-of-the-art equine pool for hydrotherapy and horse exerciser, accessible to trainers at Santa Anita Park, that will help horses more easily recover from injury.
• $23.2 million toward a backside barn improvement program.
In addition to returning a fourth day of weekly racing to Santa Anita Park resulting in 26 extra race days, 1/ST RACING will invest $2.5 million into building a turf chute at the track. The new turf chute will benefit the consolidated ecosystem of owners, breeders and trainers via the creation of new races suitable for the entire horseracing population and will provide increased racing and earnings opportunities. Further resources will be committed to encourage and ease the transition of Northern California based horses and connections.
“While we continue to work diligently on what the north might look like in 2024, today’s announcement answers important short-term questions about the future of California racing and Santa Anita Park,” said Bill Nader, President/CEO of the TOC. “This represents both an investment and a commitment by Belinda Stronach and her team to not only stabilize but likely improve California racing for stakeholders, horsemen/women, backstretch workers and the betting public. These initiatives will provide a much better environment for our horses and make our overall racing stronger for the immediate future.”
“With these renovations and the commitment to California-bred racing, I see the opportunities for Cal-breds greatly increasing and providing more value for those horses because of it. I’m going to breed more mares to take advantage of it. This is going to benefit the entire industry in the state,” said Terry Lovinger, a leading California breeder.
“The sizable investments outlined today will pave the way for a future for racing in California,” added trainer Mark Glatt. “The improvements proposed will benefit the horses and the horsemen in the state. This past wet winter underlined the need for installing a Tapeta all-weather training surface for the safety of the horses and to provide the best possible training environment.