BC’s Carter Carnegie: Big shoes to fill

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Carter Carnegie, International Executive for Great British Racing Int'l. Carter Carnegie, International Executive for Great British Racing Int'l.

The departure of Breeders’ Cup senior vice president of sales Carter Carnegie, announced in a press release yesterday weeks after word began to circulate that he was leaving, is neither surprising nor entirely inappropriate.

Carnegie, who spent more than 10 years with the Breeders’ Cup, actively pursued the vacancy created when former president and CEO Greg Avioli stepped down in March 2011.

So did Matthew Lutz, who held dual roles as chief operating officer and chief financial for the organization. Lutz quietly departed late last year, months after learning he would not get promoted to CEO.

After a two-month search, the Breeders’ Cup board last June hired Craig Fravel as Avioli’s replacement. Fravel, a longtime executive for the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in California, brought his own culture to the Breeders’ Cup, and can’t be blamed for wanting to also bring in his own executive team. It’s not easy to oversee an organization like the Breeders’ Cup, where the board of directors has different factions and often does not speak with one voice. It’s important, especially under those circumstances, that those who share a bunker have each other’s back.

So last week Fravel brought in Bob Elliston from Turfway Park as chief operating officer, a move that had been many months in the making. Fravel and Elliston became friendly while both served on the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Fravel as unpaid board member and Elliston as a paid executive chairman for the last six years.

For Elliston, the writing has been on the wall at Turfway Park for a while. The track, now owned almost entirely by casino companies, is suffering from a declining quality of racing, stemming largely from the increasing gambling and racing competition in neighboring states. And let’s face it, anyone collecting a paycheck from the NTRA, can’t be excited about that organization’s future.

Of all the Breeders’ Cup executives I’ve seen operate over the last 20 years, no one seemed more at ease than Carnegie did at selling the positive virtues of horse racing or the two-day championships, especially to an international audience. He came to the Breeders’ Cup after working on a project for Host Communications involving the National Basketball Association, one of the beasts of the sports marketing world.

During a very difficult time for sports sponsorships in general these past five years, Carnegie brought in new marketing partners and much needed dollars when championship day purses were increased and revenues from foal and stallion nominations have been on the decline.

Filling his shoes will be no easy task.

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  • Collierhelmes

    Agreed that filling his shoes will be no easy task. He brought in the sponsors from all over the world. BIG loss for Breeders’ Cup. No doubt they will realize it in 2013 when Sponsorship dollars fall.

  • Collierhelmes

    Agreed that filling his shoes will be no easy task. He brought in the sponsors from all over the world. BIG loss for Breeders’ Cup. No doubt they will realize it in 2013 when Sponsorship dollars fall.

  • James W

    Carter had a great run at the Breeders’ Cup and surely his passion will be missed.

  • James W

    Carter had a great run at the Breeders’ Cup and surely his passion will be missed.

  • Arazi

    Young and talented,it is the Breeders cup loss.good luck Carter!

  • Arazi

    Young and talented,it is the Breeders cup loss.good luck Carter!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Irene-Davis/100000178866882 Irene Davis

    I no longer have faith in the BC to make the best decisions.  It’s May and they still haven’t announced where the BC will be run in 2013.  It’s really NY’s time to host it again…….what in the world is taking so long for the announcement?  I believe they are looking for excuses not to have it run at Belmont Park…the last time it ran there was in 2005.  East Coast racing fans will be dissed again. Since the “boys from California” are in charge, we East coast fans are very concerned that NY/Belmont will not get a fair  shake when it comes to hosting the BC, yet Churchill Downs has held it for several years in a row and so has Santa Anita. There’s something wrong with this picture.

    • Lost In The Fog

      It is essentially a competitive bidding process.  If Belmont wants to host the BC in 2013 then NYRA needs to come up with a bid and proposal that is equal to or better than other tracks’ bids and proposals.  If you want the BC in NY then it’s time to put pressure on NYRA rather than the BC.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nick-Arden/1054071262 Nick Arden

      My long streak of attending Breeders’ Cups will end if New York gets the 2013 Cup. Rather bet on tv than freeze my ___ off in a rundown pit of a racetrack.    

      • Wait a While

        Amen

      • Idavis

        You must be kidding?! I’ve been to Churchill Downs Breeders Cup races since 2006…it was cold; and the 2005 BC at Belmont was cold.  However, neither was that cold that the races couldn’t be enjoyed.  We had a great time each year and our friends feel the same way about this.  BC should be held at more than one or two places…Churchill is no warmer than NY in November, and not everyone enjoys visiting the state of “fruits & nuts” and illegals breaking into hotel rooms.  That’s what I experienced last time in CA, and I haven’t been back there since.  Give me NY or KY any day of the week.  We have been attending BC races since 2005, the first time was at Belmont Park, and we’ve attended all BC races since that time except for those held in CA.  I guess we all have our opinions and experiences on the subject.  However, BC will lose lots of $$$ from us and our friends back East if it stays in CA, which would be a tragedy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Irene-Davis/100000178866882 Irene Davis

    I no longer have no faith in the BC to make the best decisions.  It’s May and they still haven’t announced where the BC will be run in 2013.  It’s really NY’s time to host it again…….what in the world is taking so long for the announcement?  I believe they are looking for excuses not to have it run at Belmont Park…the last time it ran there was in 2005.  East Coast racing fans will be dissed again. Since the “boys from California” are in charge, we East coast fans are very concerned that NY/Belmont will not get a fair  shake when it comes to hosting the BC, yet Churchill Downs has held it for several years in a row and so has Santa Anita. There’s something wrong with this picture.

  • Lost In The Fog

    It is essentially a competitive bidding process.  If Belmont wants to host the BC in 2013 then NYRA needs to come up with a bid and proposal that is equal to or better than other tracks’ bids and proposals.  If you want the BC in NY then it’s time to put pressure on NYRA rather than the BC.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nick-Arden/1054071262 Nick Arden

    My long streak of attending Breeders’ Cups will end if New York gets the 2013 Cup. Rather bet on tv than freeze my ___ off in a rundown pit of a racetrack.    

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/UBMSLSDNMQGIUFM3ITSS2ZLKNI Al

    NYRA deserves to host nothing given the recent takeout fiasco. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/UBMSLSDNMQGIUFM3ITSS2ZLKNI Al

    NYRA deserves to host nothing given the recent takeout fiasco. 

  • Wait a While

    Amen

  • BuckyinKentucky

    With all due respect while Carter did a good job with several sponsors he didn’t do it all alone.

    Don’t be too starstruck Ray, there are other good people out there that will relish the challenge and deliver new sponsors.

    Carnegie decided if he wasn’t in charge he was leaving, that is the way it is.

    Good luck Carter.

  • BuckyinKentucky

    With all due respect while Carter did a good job with several sponsors he didn’t do it all alone.

    Don’t be too starstruck Ray, there are other good people out there that will relish the challenge and deliver new sponsors.

    Carnegie decided if he wasn’t in charge he was leaving, that is the way it is.

    Good luck Carter.

  • Idavis

    You must be kidding?! I’ve been to Churchill Downs Breeders Cup races since 2006…it was cold; and the 2005 BC at Belmont was cold.  However, neither was that cold that the races couldn’t be enjoyed.  We had a great time each year and our friends feel the same way about this.  BC should be held at more than one or two places…Churchill is no warmer than NY in November, and not everyone enjoys visiting the state of “fruits & nuts” and illegals breaking into hotel rooms.  That’s what I experienced last time in CA, and I haven’t been back there since.  Give me NY or KY any day of the week.  We have been attending BC races since 2005, the first time was at Belmont Park, and we’ve attended all BC races since that time except for those held in CA.  I guess we all have our opinions and experiences on the subject.  However, BC will lose lots of $$$ from us and our friends back East if it stays in CA, which would be a tragedy.

  • Pete

    Prediction: Elliston will be running Breeders’ Cup in 2014 or 2015. He is a star.

  • Pete

    Prediction: Elliston will be running Breeders’ Cup in 2014 or 2015. He is a star.

  • http://www.alexandalexa.com/kids-trainers.html alex and alexa uk boys trainer

    If Belmont desires to host the BC in 2013 then NYRA needs to come up with a bid and proposal that is equal to or better than other tracks’ bids and proposals. In the event you require the BC in NY then it is time to put pressure on NYRA than the BC.

  • http://www.alexandalexa.com/kids-trainers.html alex and alexa uk boys trainer

    If Belmont desires to host the BC in 2013 then NYRA needs to come up with a bid and proposal that is equal to or better than other tracks’ bids and proposals. In the event you require the BC in NY then it is time to put pressure on NYRA than the BC.

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