SBD/August 11, 2011/Events and Attractions

Breeders' Cup World Championships Returning To Santa Anita In '12

Next year's Breeder's Cup marks the sixth time it will be held at Santa Anita
The Breeders' Cup World Championships will return to Santa Anita Park "for the sixth time" next year, according to Bill Dwyre of the L.A. TIMES. The Arcadia, Calif., track "has held this event five times, most recently to smash reviews and record results" in '08 and '09. L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was "given credit for spearheading the bargaining push that got the Breeders' Cup back." Villaraigosa's involvement, and "even the choice of L.A. Live for Wednesday's announcement, gave the 2012 Breeders' Cup branding and identity beyond Arcadia and the handful of nearby horse-race-savvy cities." Dwyre writes, "The implication was clearly that this is now a Los Angeles event" (L.A. TIMES, 8/11). BLOODHORSE.com's Tom LaMarra noted Breeders' Cup Ltd. selected Santa Anita over Churchill Downs, which will host this year's World Championships in November, and Belmont Park. MI Developments CEO Greg Avioli, who resigned as Breeders' Cup President & CEO earlier this year and whose new company owns Santa Anita, is "said to have lobbied hard for Santa Anita to get the Breeders’ Cup" (BLOODHORSE.com, 8/10). The DAILY RACING FORM's reported many Breeders' Cup BOD members "favor the site because of the mild weather in California in the fall and a belief that the track is best able to offer hospitality packages to sponsors and other corporate groups" (DRF.com, 8/10).

WANT TO BE A PART OF IT: NYRA President & CEO Charles Hayward said, "We are disappointed that Belmont Park was not selected to host the 2012 Breeders’ Cup World Championships. The event was most recently held at Belmont in 2005, and since then, two different tracks -- Churchill Downs and now Santa Anita -- have hosted the Breeders’ Cup three times" (BLOODHORSE.com, 8/10). In Albany, Tim Wilkin notes "prominent New York horse owners want to know why the Breeders' Cup loves L.A. and hates the Big Apple." Glaceau co-Founder Mike Repole, owner of several horses including Uncle Mo and Stay Thirsty, said, "This is not the Kentucky Derby that has to be in Kentucky; it's not the Masters that needs to be in Augusta. I think it's a travesty to the sport. I think the Breeders' Cup is not focused for what's best for the fan or the sport I love." New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association President Rick Violette: "It's another slap in the face to New York racing. I think they (Breeders' Cup) are in love with the sunshine and the movie stars." Repole said that if NYRA "would consider moving the Jockey Club Gold Cup and Champagne to Breeders' Cup weekend, he would be a big supporter." He said that he "would even help fund the races," and would be "prepared to sit out the Breeders' Cup in California if NYRA opted to have its own championship day" (Albany TIMES UNION, 8/11).

RUNNING IN CIRCLES: In Louisville, Gregory Hall notes Breeders’ Cup leadership "previously has considered designating one track to be a permanent or long-range host to build up its brand." Opponents of that idea "have promoted a set rotation of a few tracks that likely would include Churchill." Breeders' Cup Senior Dir of Event Communications Jim Gluckson said that "no timetable has been set for naming a 2013 host." He also said that the "idea of designating a permanent or long-term host track hasn’t been discarded, but there’s been no movement on the issue." Hall notes the World Championships "would have to return to a Kentucky track by 2014 to maintain a betting tax break that the event's organizers benefitted from last year and will benefit from this year" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 8/11).
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