Richie Sambora Rockin’ Breeders’ Cup

Bon Jovi will be in Toronto this weekend as the band ticks off the last dates on its North American trek. Wondering where you can find Richie Sambora? Because he’s still taking a break from the tour, he’s free to spend Saturday performing at The Breeders’ Cup.

The Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which features 14 Thoroughbred horses races and purses totaling $27 million, takes place Nov. 1-2 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.

The festivities are going to be a bit more rockin’ this year, thanks to Sambora. Instead of a traditional bugle signaling the “Call to Post,” Sambora will do the honors on his electric guitar – a first for the Breeders’ Cup.

As for the anthems, Toni Braxton will perform the National Anthem and Kristin Chenoweth will be there to show off the Breeders’ Cup adopted anthem, “The Best is Yet To Come.” NBC Sports Network will air the National Anthem at 6:35 p.m. Eastern, followed by the Call to Post at 7:20 p.m. Chenoweth’s performance will air on NBC at 8 p.m. Eastern as part of the Breeders’ Cup Classic coverage.

Sambora, Braxton and Chenoweth will also take part in the inaugural Songs in the Saddle: The Infield Music Fest. The lineup features Macy Gray, Joan Osborne, Jakob Dylan, Giselle Fernandez, Nikki Lane, Jenny & The Mexicats, American Authors, Dame, and Jenny O.

Photo: Debbie VanStory / RockinExposures
Honda Center, Anaheim, Calif.

Back in August there were reports that Sambora had been fired from Bon Jovi’s tour. RumorFix claimed Aug. 21 it had “learned exclusively” that Sambora had been fired from the trek and referenced a source “close to the band” saying it was “all about money.” posted its take on the drama Aug. 27. The gossip site’s alleged sources were all over the place. One source claimed that six weeks before that Jon Bon Jovi and Sambora “had a two-hour call to patch things up, but when Jon made it clear that he would not take him back before he went into rehab, it was a deal-breaker.” Another source claimed the two musicians “have not spoken since April and talk of an intervention is way off the mark.” This source said, “It’s disheartening that it has come to this. Richie is healthy. He is not drinking. He is sober.”

The blog Rock Candy, which is written by Omaha World-Herald music critic Kevin Coffey, actually got to talk to one of the members of Bon Jovi earlier this month.

After asking when Sambora would rejoin the band, keyboardist David Bryan said, “I don’t know. The ball’s still in his court. Until he’s all great and helping us out, I don’t know. There’s trials and tribulations in a band. This too shall pass. Everything will be good.”