Oak Tree Racing Association
In 1968, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, operators of Del Mar Racetrack in Del Mar, California, decided to inform California racing authorities that they did not intend to use the fall dates they were granted and to instead race only a summer meet. Clement L. Hirsch, Louis R. Rowan, both leading horse owners, and veterinarian Dr. Jack Robbins, as well as other horsemen and fans were deeply opposed to the move which had the effect of ending live racing in Southern California from September 1 to November 1.
Hirsch, Rowan, Robbins, and several others decided to do something and formed the Oak Tree Racing Association. Dr. Jack Robbins, was a founding Director and became its President. The Association decided against purchasing a racetrack or constructing a new one. Instead they rented Santa Anita Park for the first time in 1969 and remained there until they were evicted by the track before the 2010 season. The association has signed a two-year lease at Hollywood Park starting in 2010, with future seasons in doubt because of the uncertainty of Hollywood Park's demolition and redevelopment plans for the property.
Generally run in September/October, Oak Tree is considered to be one of the finest race meetings in the country and is renowned for excellent turf racing. During this time it hosts a series of races for California bred horses, led by the California Cup Classic.
The track conducts many races that lead up to the World Thoroughbred Championships. Oak Tree hosted the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita Park in 1986, 1993, 2003, 2008 and 2009.
Oak Tree is now poised to present its 42nd racing season at Hollywood Park. Throughout the years, Oak Tree has remained dedicated to channeling its profits to research, development and breeding, plus other worthy causes. During its 40-plus years of dedication to the cause of “Horsemen Helping Horsemen,” Oak Tree has contributed more than $26 million to projects benefiting the racing industry. This includes more than $4.6 million in support of projects at the University of California, Davis, Center for Equine Health and Performance. Oak Tree also gives to the Grayson-Jockey Club Foundation, American Horse Council, Race Track Chaplaincy and Winners Foundation, which assists people in horse racing to combat substance abuse. At Santa Anita, horsemen continue to benefit from Oak Tree projects that have remodeled the stable cafeteria, backstretch recreation facility, and the funding of English speaking classes for backstretch workers.
Graded Stakes Races at the Oak Tree meet
(As noted above re: Oak Tree Racing moving to Hollywood Park, some of these races have been renamed by Santa Anita Park now that its lease with Oak Tree Racing Association has expired (2010).)
- Ancient Title Stakes
- Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship Stakes (Now renamed the John Henry Turf Championship Stakes)
- Goodwood Stakes (Renamed the Awesome Again Stakes)
- Harold C. Ramser Sr. Handicap
- Lady's Secret Stakes (Renamed the Zenyatta Stakes)
- Las Palmas Handicap
- Morvich Handicap
- Norfolk Stakes (Renamed the FrontRunner Stakes)
- Oak Leaf Stakes (Renamed the Chandelier Stakes)
- Oak Tree Derby
- Oak Tree Mile Stakes
- Senator Ken Maddy Handicap
- Yellow Ribbon Stakes (Renamed the Rodeo Drive Stakes)
- Terry Gilligan (1969-circa 1976)
- Alan Buchdahl (circa 1976-1982)
- Trevor Denman (1983-2009)
- Vic Stauffer (2010)
- Oak Tree Racing Media Guide
- Oak Tree Racing Association Official Website
- Hollywood Park, Oak Tree Agree to Second Meet in 2011
- Stauffer to call races for Oak Tree