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Report: 1/ST Racing says it could sell or close Santa Anita

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1/ST Racing and Gaming said it might sell or close Santa Anita if the California Horse Racing Board approves racing dates in Northern California for this fall.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the threat was made in a letter from Craig Fravel, executive vice chairman of 1/ST Racing, to CHRB board members ahead of a Thursday meeting to consider the Northern California dates.

The controversy was prompted by last year’s announcement that Stronach Group, owner of 1/ST Racing, will close Golden Gate Fields in June. To preserve racing in Northern California, horsemen will propose a 10-week meet that would run from October to December at the Alameda County Fair Grounds in Pleasanton.

Fravel said in his letter that if racing dates are authorized for Northern California, “an analysis of alternative uses for Santa Anita and San Luis Rey will be undertaken in short order,” according to the Times report.

1/ST Racing opposes the plan because of legislation that would divert simulcast funds from Northern California to Southern California when there is no racing in the north. 1/ST believes those funds are needed to support Southern California racing.

Fravel said in his letter that other possibilities if the Northern California race dates are allocated include purse cuts at Santa Anita and dropping plans for $7 million in improvements at Santa Anita, according to the report.

“Should those projects be deemed unfeasible, further operation of Santa Anita and San Luis Rey as training facilities will may be in jeopardy,” Fravel said in the letter.

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