Gayle Anderson was live in Arcadia where the Oak Tree Racing Association will kick off its 41st racing season at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, September 30th. The highlight of the meeting will be the 26th running of the two-day Breeders' Cup World Championships, hosted by Oak Tree for an unprecedented second consecutive year on November 6th and November 7th.
Oak Tree's popular Collector's Commemorative Stein will once again be offered FREE of charge to all paid attendees on opening day, September 30th. This year's issue will feature the likenesses of 2008 Breeders' Cup Classic Champion Raven's Pass and Ladies' Classic Champion Zenyatta, as well as the racing colors of all 14 World Championship winners from last year. Additionally, the late founder of the Breeders' Cup, John Gaines, will be honored as the colors of his Gainesway Farm will be represented.
In addition to the traditional Stein, fans will be treated to some outstanding racing on opening day as the Gr. III Morvich Handicap for 3-year-olds and up will highlight a nine-race card and will be contested at 6½ furlongs down Santa Anita's hillside turf course.
Also, Oak Tree will offering a complete menu of "Free Fridays" throughout the six week meet, including FREE General Admission, FREE box seats and $1 hot dogs, beer, popcorn, sodas and coffee. Special first post time on these Fridays will be at 2 p.m. The only "Free Friday" exception will be Day 1 of the Breeders' Cup World Championships on November 6th.
The California Cup, a series of races restricted to horses bred in California and traditionally one of the most popular dates on the racing calendar, will run for the 20th time on Saturday, October 3rd. A total of $1 million in purse money is offered throughout the program. All fans attending will receive a beautiful California Cup T-shirt with paid admission.
Oak Tree will offer a total of seven Gr. I Breeders' Cup prep races over the first two weekends, beginning with Oak Leaf Stakes for 2-year-old fillies and the Norfolk Stakes for 2-year-olds on Sunday, October 4th. Both races will be run at 1 1/16 miles.
Saturday, October 10th, Oak Tree will offer three Gr. I Breeders' Cup preps: The Lady's Secret, Yellow Ribbon and Goodwood Stakes. The Lady's Secret for fillies and mares aged 3 and up, is at 1 1/16 miles. The Yellow Ribbon, also for fillies and mares 3 and up, is at 1¼ miles on turf, and the Goodwood is for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles.
It's predicted Jerry and Ann Moss's undefeated Zenyatta will defend her title in the Lady's Secret and that this year's Kentucky Derby winner, Mine that Bird, will run in the Goodwood Stakes, in final preparation for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic on November 7th. Two Grade I Breeders' Cup preps will run on Sunday, October 11th: the Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship for 3-year-olds and up at 1¼ miles and the Ancient Title Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs.
A total of eight World Championship races will run Friday, November 6th, with the $2 million Ladies' Classic, for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles taking center stage. Day Two of the Championships, on November 7th, features six Breeders' Cup races, with the $5 million Classic for 3-year-olds and up at 1¼ miles, serving as the afternoon's centerpiece.
Oak Tree first hosted the Breeders' Cup in 1986, and this year will mark the fifth time the World Championships have been conducted in Arcadia.
First post times for the Breeders' Cup are as follows: On Friday, November 6th, Race 1 gets underway at 11:15 a.m. and on day two, November 7th, the first post is scheduled for 10:05 a.m.
First post time on opening day, September 30th, and most weekdays, is 1 p.m. First post on weekends and holidays will be at 12:30 p.m., with the following exceptions: Cal Cup Day, Saturday, October 3rd, first post is 12 noon. First post on closing day, November 8th is 12 noon.
For additional information go to www.oaktreeracing.com or to call (626) 574-7223.