Six Sites have Expressed Interest in Hosting Breeders’ Cup in 2019-2022
The 2018 Breeders’ Cup is at Churchill Downs, and the interest continues to grow for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. The Board of the Breeders’ Cup will meet later this month to talk about tracks that could potentially host the event from 2019-22 and also discuss the possibility of adding another race. Six tracks have expressed a potential interest in hosing the event,
“We want to have a four-year plan so we know exactly where we’re going to go,” new Breeders’ Cup chairman Fred Hertrich III told Thoroughbred Daily News. “We have sent out what we expect with our product as a racing event and a lifestyle event, and [asked] can they develop this into a contract? There’s no event that we have had that we don’t take every minute detail into account to improve the event.”
After Del Mar hosted the event for the first time in 2017, the feedback was exceptional.
“It exceeded expectations as the event we wanted to create as a lifestyle event with [high] quality of racing and the safety of animals,” he said. “It delivered on all fronts, so we’re happy with that.”
While the six tracks that have expressed interest have not yet been disclosed, it would appear that Santa Anita, Del Mar, Keeneland, Churchill Downs again, Gulfstream Park, Belmont for the first time since 2005 and perhaps the new look and improved Laurel Park might be the strongest contenders.
Hertrich said that the experience for horsemen and racegoers alike remains paramount, no matter which track is chosen.
“We have worked on integrity to make sure we work with the particular jurisdiction, and we may even ask for a change in their rules to make sure it meets the criteria that the Breeders’ Cup demands. We want to take each event and make it better. If we’re going to go back to a track, we want these areas addressed.”
“As the Chairman I’m kind of the moderator, but with some new people that have gotten involved, this is the direction they desire to go. I’m not saying it wasn’t there before. I think the thing we maybe haven’t done enough in our industry is consult with owners and breeders. We haven’t asked them for input. We haven’t asked them to participate. We haven’t asked them to give us ideas, and they are the greatest minds in the world in all industries. It’s amazing.”
Hertrich said the Breeders’ Cup Ltd. wants to make its annual event the most relevant horse racing and lifestyle event in the minds of people, some of whom may currently look upon the Kentucky Derby as this event when asked about Thoroughbred racing. He said it’s imperative to keep racing in the nationwide sports dialogue all year round and not just during the Triple Crown.
“The one thing we never get complaints about is the quality of the races”, he said. “They love the races. They love the World Championships. Every major sport has a championship and everything flows to that. “You have to go the championships and that has to be your hallmark product, in my mind.”