Del Mar CEO In Discussions To Bring Breeders' Cup Back To Track
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club CEO Joe Harper said that “'serious' talks are ongoing to bring the Breeders’ Cup back to Del Mar after a highly successful staging last November," according to Tod Leonard of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. Harper said, "We’re probably looking at 2021." He added that after Churchill Downs hosts this year, he could "see the event going to Santa Anita, Keeneland and then Del Mar." No future sites have "been announced beyond this year." Harper called the Del Mar Breeders’ Cup the “most successful of all time.” Even with attendance capped at about 37,500 for each day at Del Mar, Breeders' Cup officials said that the "two-day, on-track wagering total was $25,181,317 -- the highest ever for the event" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 7/17).
BRING IN THE MONEY: DAILY RACING FORM's David Grening noted the Belmont Park spring-summer meet "showed significant gains in handle" at the '18 meet compared to last year. All-sources handle for the "53-day meet was $634,276,776," a 9.1% increase from the '17 figure. On-track handle "was $79,507,416," a 2% increase over last year’s figure. All-sources handle on Belmont Stakes Day -- when Justify completed the 13th Triple Crown in history -- "was $137,954,895," a 47.3% increase over the '17 figure. Belmont Stakes Day handle was the "second-highest ever," behind only '14 when California Chrome failed in his Triple Crown bid (DRF.com, 7/16).
LOOKING AT THE SPORT: Stronach Group Chair & President Belinda Stronach in a Q&A with the L.A. TIMES' John Cherwa noted the biggest problem facing horse racing is that the industry "didn’t evolve and stay competitive," while other sporting events and properties "started to take away market share." Stronach said, "Television wasn’t embraced at the time because they felt it would impact on-track attendance. Any time you ignore technology and don’t embrace what the customer would like, then that’s a real risk. The industry hasn’t been innovative enough, embraced technology and created those compelling, creative experiences that customers wish to have today." Stronach also addressed how sports betting will change the approach to horse racing, saying, "One of the things we have been focusing on is developing a new app that looks at the gamification of horse racing and makes it more fun and easy to wager but still involves a game of skill" (L.A. TIMES, 7/17).