Del Mar Encouraged About Return Of Breeders' Cup After Successful Debut With Event
People involved in this year's inaugural Breeders' Cup at Del Mar, from owners to fans to area merchants, "want to see the event come back" to the Southern California track, and it "appears very likely that will happen," according to Tod leonard of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. Breeders' Cup President & CEO Craig Fravel said, "My preliminary read is that it’s a place we have to come back to. I got 20 emails from people saying that it was a home run. The overall experience was great." Fravel said that the "biggest glitch" he heard about was a "bottleneck at the entry gates Friday due to security measures." He added that those were "addressed and the wait was reduced Saturday." Leonard notes when the event returns "depends on how the next few years’ schedules shake out." After Churchill Downs in '18, the event "could return to the West Coast at Santa Anita." Then it "might go back East, possibly to New York if some political issues are worked out." What "clearly is coveted is the West Coast television time, which put Saturday’s Classic on NBC in prime time in the East and Midwest" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 11/6). In L.A., Art Wilson writes Del Mar "staged one of the most successful World Championships in history." There were many "naysayers who thought Del Mar was too small to host the event, but the seaside track came through in a big way" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 11/6).
SOLID DEBUT: In San Diego, Bryce Miller wrote Del Mar "wrapped up its money-soaked horse-racing extravaganza debut bathed in sunshine and optimism about the prospects of earning another." Strong betting, "minimal logistical stumbles and a healthy spritz of sea spray left few hesitant about a Breeders’ Cup return" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 11/5). Also in San Diego, Pam Kragen wrote Del Mar was a "clear winner," as the event had an "upbeat vibe" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 11/4).
FACTS & FIGURES: DAILY RACING FORM's Matt Hegarty noted betting on Breeders' Cup races at Del Mar on Friday and Saturday was up 5.7% compared with last year at Santa Anita and the "highest total" since the '13 event at Santa Anita. Total betting on the 13 races was $135.46M -- "just shy" of the $135.52M bet in '13. Betting on Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic race was down 1%, but overall betting was "strong throughout Saturday," building on the 3.2% jump in betting on Friday this year. This was the "third year in a row that betting on the Breeders’ Cup races rose." Meanwhile, Del Mar announced attendance of 37,692 for Saturday, "slightly higher than the 37,500 cap that was set by the track." It was "unclear why the attendance was higher than the cap, but tracks often count officials and members of the press" (DRF.com, 11/04). On-track handle for the Breeders' Cup was up 21.4% "over the two-day total" of $20.7M last year at Santa Anita. All-sources handle on Saturday was $113.8M, up 6% from '16. Saturday's "full-card on-track handle" of $15.98M was the highest since '06, the "last year the Breeders' Cup was conducted over one day." Saturday's "on-track handle for the nine Breeders' Cup races" was $15.9M, up 18% from last year (BLOODHORSE.com, 11/4).