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Volume 21 No. 2
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Plugged In: Peter Rotondo, VP of media and entertainment, Breeders' Cup

The Breeders’ Cup completed its two-day championship event earlier this month at Santa Anita Park in the Los Angeles area, and Peter Rotondo, vice president of media and entertainment, sees some positive trends developing as the event heads into its 30th year..

This year we have a lot of the champions who are going to come back and run. Fort Larned, the winner of the Classic, is going to come back and run next year. Royal Delta, who has won the Ladies’ Classic the last two years, she is going to come back and run. So I think it helps to have stars. We need our stars to run a little more.

The celebrity factor:
It’s amazing, in horse racing, just this year, at the Breeders’ Cup, Joe Torre owned the favorite in the Classic. Jim Rome won a Breeders’ Cup race. Rick Pitino had a horse running in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint. Wes Welker was going to have a horse running in the Breeders’ Cup, but the horse ran the week before and won at Keeneland. Drew Brees had a horse running in the Breeders’ Cup Marathon, the favorite, but the horse was scratched at the last second.

Sports personalities now love the ponies: In the old days, you had golf. But now they are getting into horse ownership and we have a considered effort, if they show any interest at all, to make sure they have a great time at the races. And our board of directors is 100 percent behind it. Michael Strahan was at the Breeders’ Cup this year. Brandon Lloyd and Steven Jackson were both there, they had a bye week. They are like new fans we are trying to cultivate. They showed an interest. We got them out there. And they had an amazing time.

On the digital front: We re-did our website. We also came out with a mobile app for the iPhone and the iPad, and that has been downloaded in 63 countries. You were able to watch the Breeders’ Cup live from your iPhone from our app. It had a wagering calculator. You could put in your ZIP code and it could tell you where to go bet. It was really interactive and it was a valuable tool. We launched Fantasy ‘Capping [an online game like fantasy football where fans compete against one another by picking horses in the weekend’s big races] and it was more fantasy wagering than anything.