Oak Tree Racing Association

Corporate Name: Oak Tree Racing Association
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 60018, Arcadia, California 91066-6018
Street Address: 201 Colorado Place, Arcadia California 91007 (click for map)
Telephone: Executive Office: (626) 784-4802
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.oaktreeracing.com

In 1968, a group of seven prominent owner-breeders organized the Oak Tree Racing Association to conduct an autumn racing season with proceeds earmarked for industry improvement. They served without compensation from the non-dividend-paying association.

This unique concept was the creation of Clement L. Hirsch, who served as Oak Tree’s president until his death in 2000. He was succeeded by Dr. Jack K. Robbins, one of the original seven directors and a distinguished veterinarian, as well as an owner and breeder.

Hirsch, Robbins, and Louis R. Rowan approached Santa Anita Park President Robert Strub and General Manager Fred Ryan with Oak Tree’s proposal to provide racing opportunities between the end of the Del Mar season and the opening of Santa Anita’s winter meeting, a period of the calendar that then was without first-class racing.

In 2011, Dr. Jack K. Robbins, stepped down as President of OTRA, handing it over to long-time Vice President, John H. Barr. John has been an owner and breeder in California for many years, racing as Oakcrest Stables. He is a member of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association, as well as The Jockey Club with whom he was a former member of the Board of Stewards.

Sherwood Chillingworth, who has been a director with Oak Tree since 1988, assumed the role of Executive Vice President in 1993, from which position he retired in March 2012. Mr. Chillingworth now serves as a consultant with Oak Tree and continues to be responsible for the day-to-day operations.

Following organization and licensing by the California Horse Racing Board, Oak Tree obtained a lease from the Los Angeles Turf Club, operator of Santa Anita Park, to utilize the world-renowned Arcadia track for its inaugural race meeting in 1969. Lease agreements have allowed Oak Tree to present its meetings at Santa Anita until 2010, when Oak Tree ran at Hollywood Park.

Commencing June 19, 2014, Oak Tree ran a three-week meet at Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, Calif. which featured two $100,000 stake races, a $75,000 stake race and three $50,000 stake races. Oak Tree returned to Alameda County Fair in 2015, and will again in 2016.

Oak Tree has gained international recognition as one of the racing world’s most prestigious and successful meetings. The association has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships five times becoming the first to hold the event in consecutive years, 2008-2009. Winners of its many coveted stakes races have included such heralded runners as John Henry, Ack Ack, Tiznow, Ferdinand, Lady’s Secret and Azeri, each honored as Horse of the Year, and Zenyatta, the first filly or mare to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The accomplishments of Oak Tree’s human competitors are equally notable. Seasonal leaders at one or more of Oak Tree’s race meetings include jockeys Laffit Pincay, Jr. and Bill Shoemaker, each once the record-holder for most total career victories, along with Chris McCarron, Eddie Delahoussaye, Gary Stevens and Sandy Hawley. Trainers include Charlie Whittingham, Ron McAnally, Robert Frankel, D. Wayne Lukas, Richard Mandella and Bob Baffert, all members of Racing’s Hall of Fame.

Paralleling its success in the presentation of quality racing, Oak Tree also has substantially fulfilled its original concept. The Oak Tree Charitable Foundation and Oak Tree Racing Association together have benefited the industry and its participants by giving more than $32 million to various charitable and civic organizations.
Selection of recipients is made with an emphasis on equine research and help for those who care for the equine athletes. Some of the largest grants have been to the University of California, Davis, Center for Equine Health.

Directors: Dr. Rick M. Arthur, John H. Barr, Thomas R. Capehart, Sherwood C. Chillingworth, Richard Mandella, Warren B. Williamson, Robert W. Zamarripa