It’s not too often an mayor gets to share billing with a Los Angeles mayor.
But Arcadia’s Gary Kovacic and L.A.'s Antonio Villaraigosa both took turns at the podium today at a downtown L.A. press conference to announce that would serve as the host of the 2012 Breeders’ Cup.
It will mark the sixth time the has come to Arcadia. Craig Fravel, president and CEO of the Breeders’ Cup, said beyond 2012 has been made.
This year’s Breeders’ Cup will be Nov. 5-6 at Churchill Downs. The dates for 2012 are Nov. 2-3.
Los Angeles and Santa Anita beat out New York and Belmont Park for next year’s event, and officials at Wednesday’s press conference mentioned L.A.’s weather and L.A.’s entertainment industry as key factors.
Here’s what Kovacic had to say:
“With the Breeders’ Cup, the entire horse racing world literally comes to Arcadia, my beautiful hometown and Santa Anita, our city’s crown jewel.
“Visitors from all over the world will enjoy our friendly community with its many first-class hotels, restaurants and attractions. As in past years, our community will also contribute greatly to the corps of 350 to 400 volunteers working the event.
“Our city council and staff know the event well and recognize the prestige and economic booster the Breeders’ Cup brings to our city and surrounding communities in terms of local spending, tax revenue and added employment.”
Villaraigosa said the Breeders’ Cup could have an economic impact of more than $60 million for the Greater Los Angeles area. Kovacic, when asked about the economic impact on the Arcadia area, said he wasn’t sure but did note that the tax revenue alone in the past has been around $3 million.
Also representing Arcadia at today’s press conference was City Councilman and former mayor Bob Harbicht and City Manager Don Penman.
“Arcadia, with its history, is well prepared to host an event the magnitude of the Breeders’ Cup,” Harbicht said.
Announcement in Downtown L.A.
Although Arcadia is located 17 miles northeast of downtown L.A., Wednesday’s press conference was held at a JW Marriott hotel in the LA Live complex across the street from Staples Center.
One reason for that location was to accommodate L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who made the one-mile trip south from City Hall to attend and show his support.
Villaraigosa said he attended the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita in both 2008 and 2009, and also attended last year’s Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs.
“I was there to make a pitch for us to get the 2012 Breeders’ Cup–and to see Zenyatta,” he said. “In these difficult economic times, it is so important to generate revenue for our area, and we’re talking $60 million.”
Besides 2008 and 2009, Santa Anita also hosted the world championships in 1986, 1993 and 2003.
“Bet on this,” Kovacic said. “The Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita will be a wire to wire winner once again. In fact, we hope the Breeders’ Cup decides to stay here for good.”