Time for Breeders’ Cup to find permanent home?

  • click above & share!
    X
  • click above & share!
    X


  • click above & share!
    X
  • click above & share!
    X

Let me start by saying I have something of a bias when it comes to Santa Anita Park, host of this year’s Breeders’ Cup. Before I moved with the Field Newspaper Syndicate from Chicago to Southern California in 1979, Santa Anita was my first stop on a brief visit that was supposed to be devoted to finding housing. I was used to going to the races at Hawthorne, Sportman’s Park, and occasionally old Arlington Park, and I wanted to see if Santa Anita was any different. The racing was fine in Chicago – it was all I knew – but I figured a state that created Disneyland, lured the baseball Giants and Dodgers from New York, and made all those movies had to put on a pretty good show for horseracing, too.

When I arrived at Santa Anita that March weekday afternoon, it was a warm, sunny day, just as it was for the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Championships. I was fleeing a city that had just endured the worst winter of its history, with record snowfall and sub-zero temperatures. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the place.

There were three of us soon-to-be-ex-Chicagoans on that exploratory trip, as I recall, and we parked in the track’s infield parking lot because it was the first one we found. When we emerged from a tunnel in the infield the sight was breathtaking: a nearly-filled grandstand (yes, back then, even weekday crowds were huge), flowers, fountains, and dappled out horses trained by names like Charlie Whittingham, Johnny Longden, and Willard Proctor, and ridden by legends like Bill Shoemaker, Laffit Pincay Jr., and a youngster named Stevie Cauthen, who the previous year guided Affirmed to Triple Crown glory.

We eventually got around to looking for apartments to live in, and moved to Southern California with our company a couple of months later. But that first impression of Santa Anita, for me, has lasted more than 30 years. A lot has changed about the “Great Race Place,” much of it for the worse, but it remains a rare jewel on the American horseracing landscape.

Santa Anita used to drive enormous crowds for its number one race, the Santa Anita Handicap. The marketing pitch, delivered over and over, was simple: “If you go to the races just once a year, make it this Sunday for the Big ‘Cap.” And it worked. The 1985 Santa Anita Handicap, featuring the Argentine horse, Lord At War, who did not really have that much of a following, drew an all-time record crowd of 85,527.

Nowadays, the track’s top attraction is the Santa Anita Derby, since the Big ‘Cap has been weakened by horses going to Dubai and an older horse population that ain’t what it used to be. The 2012 announced attendance on Santa Anita Derby Day was 33,166.

Anyone who was on hand at Santa Anita for this year’s Breeders’ Cup knows that Santa Anita can still put on a very good show. It can handle crowds in the 50,000 range or higher. Those crowds have fashion, style and panache. There were plenty of show business types and corporate execs among them. But there is also a very serious and experienced group of horseplayers who populate the area, and there is no doubt the Breeders’ Cup provides them with the best wagering opportunities they’ll get all year. And most people with the means to travel don’t need to have their arms twisted to visit Southern California when the temperatures back East are starting to drop in late October and early November.

A few years ago, a Breeders’ Cup committee saw many of these same positive attributes and recommended that Santa Anita be given a long-term commitment to serve as Breeders’ Cup host site, maybe even a “permanent” host. It was a radical concept, one that flew in the face of the traditional moveable feast that the Breeders’ Cup had been since its inaugural running in 1984, making stops at Hollywood Park, Aqueduct, Santa Anita, Churchill Downs, Gulfstream Park, Belmont Park, Woodbine, Arlington Park, Lone Star Park, and Monmouth Park.

The positive side to rotating the Cup among multiple racetracks is that it allows different groups of people to see it without having to travel very far. But the negative is that it’s difficult to build momentum, marketing partnerships, and local fan interest for an always moving event that is not part of a top-tier sport like the NFL or NCAA basketball. Stagnant handle for the event, expanded for the first time to two days in 2007, suggests a change in philosophy for host site selection may be needed.

Naming Santa Anita long-term host would step on some toes in New York and Kentucky, among others. But the Breeders’ Cup will never be bigger than the Kentucky Oaks/Derby weekend in the spring at Churchill Downs. Neither will it ever top the excitement or on-track crowds that Belmont Park brings when a horse is going for the Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes. It would be the biggest thing, not just for Santa Anita but for all of California racing, if the Breeders’ Cup set up shop there for multiple years.

There are some problems. The main racing surface, for example, is a speed-biased dirt track that virtually eliminates a deep closer, and the Europeans who tried it this week had generally poor results. (Minor suggestion: move the Marathon from the dirt to the turf course next year and take advantage of that hillside turf start and run the race at a mile and three-quarters.) But both track owner Frank Stronach and California have spoken, and they don’t want a synthetic track at Santa Anita. We can only hope, then, that they get this track to be the safest, fairest dirt it can be.

Despite the 2012 Breeders’ Cup results that saw numerous winners come from the East Coast, and others from Europe and Argentina, Southern California horsemen will have an advantage. In much the same way that New York stables have an advantage in the Belmont Stakes.

Is the Breeders’ Cup board likely to recommend a long-term or permanent host like Santa Anita? Probably not, since the majority of the board comes from Kentucky or the East Coast.

But the Breeders’ Cup is at something of a crossroads. Its television ratings (despite a nice bump for a prime-time Classic on NBC) are down significantly from its earliest years (admittedly when the weekend sports TV options were far more limited). Handle has not grown at the pace anticipated by the board when it nearly doubled the number of “championship” races (there are now so many races for so many different divisions that its winners can’t even mount a serious run for an Eclipse Award).

What John Gaines created 30 years ago when he announced the creation of the Breeders’ Cup was the boldest new plan for American racing in the 20th Century. What the current Breeders’ Cup board seems to be doing, instead of making bold decisions that may be in the best interests of the organization, is worry more about who might be offended if they name Santa Anita a long-term or permanent host.

New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry
  • Nucky Thompson

    Having made my first ever Breeders Cup trip to Santa Anita I am now convinced that this is the right place for its permanent home. The glorious weather makes all the difference. Can you imagine if it had been scheduled for Belmont Park this year ? Previous years have also seen very cold temperatures at Churchill Downs and who can forget the monsoon that was Monmouth. Shame that Gulfstream Park is not capable of handling a Breeders Cup any more and California does not have the racing fervor that you see in Kentucky but they certainly put on a great show. My only complaint was the judging in the fedora competion. Everyone told me I was a lock but I didnt even hit the board. Definitely some west coast bias there :)

    • nu-fan

      Nucky:  You’re so right.  So is David.  California rarely has hostile weather.  An earthquake or so?  Yes, but rarely torrential downpours, hurricanes, freezing temperatures, and so on.  When so much is riding (plans, dollars, etc.) on an event of this level, it’s important to be able to count on everthing coming off really well.  Perhaps, if the Breeders’ Cup is held on a regular basis at Santa Anita, the fan base and “fervor” will grow.  When the race is bounced around, it’s really hard to get the continuous promotions going.

  • Nucky Thompson

    Having made my first ever Breeders Cup trip to Santa Anita I am now convinced that this is the right place for its permanent home. The glorious weather makes all the difference. Can you imagine if it had been scheduled for Belmont Park this year ? Previous years have also seen very cold temperatures at Churchill Downs and who can forget the monsoon that was Monmouth. Shame that Gulfstream Park is not capable of handling a Breeders Cup any more and california does not have the racing fervor that you see in Kentucky but they certainly put on a great show

  • Waquoit

    It’s really a shame the way the Breeders Cup has decided to take the horseplayer for granted. Most horseplayers live east of the Mississippi and prefer playing local tracks. Having the BC at Santa Anita all the time might be good for weather and getting the big stars like Bo Derek and Jim Rome to show up, but it’s an insult to the east coast players, the one’s that carry the game. That’s why handle has flattened as more BC’s are in CA. The BC has lost touch. Their own website proclaims that the Breeder’s Cup ” has transcended the sport itself.” Only in their dreams.

    • Meyer1127

      And why should every single big race be on the East Coast?
      My,My someone wants the whole PIE.

    • Herb Leliwa

      Agreed.  I haven’t bet the Breeders’ Cup since they stopped coming East.  The decision to stagnate at a few select parks, the greedy move to two days fleshed out with trumped up “championship” races, and now, the ill-conceived and image-motivated ban on Lasix, making such races a lottery about guessing who will bleed, have rendered the BC increasingly unpalatable.  The BC has taken giant steps on the road to irrelevancy. 

    • Khambat

      Agreed. Horseplayers…east of the Mississippi…in Balitmore (Pimlico)…Chicago (Arlington Park)….Florida…(Gulfstream Park & Hialeah Park)….New Orleans (Fair Grounds)…East as places more than JUST New York.

  • Waquoit

    It’s really a shame the way the Breeders Cup has decided to take the horseplayer for granted. Most horseplayers live east of the Mississippi and prefer playing local tracks. Having the BC at Santa Anita all the time might be good for weather and getting the big stars like Bo Derek and Jim Rome to show up, but it’s an insult to the east coast players, the one’s that carry the game. That’s why handle has flattened as more BC’s are in CA. The BC has lost touch. Their own website proclaims that the Breeder’s Cup ” has transcended the sport itself.” Only in their dreams.

  • No Penalties in Horse Racing

    Without a doubt, there was a huge speed bias on that track.   The best horse shouldn’t always win, but the best horse should have a fair chance to win.  Nobody can say Trinniberg is the best sprinter in the nation.   

    • David

      I took him but admit CA racing made me do it – fly to the
      quarter pole and let all behind you get tired at the same time.  The track can be fixed; Butch Lehr is
      available so get him to build a clone (tribute to Jim Rome) to CD’s strip and
      there you go.

      • swaps55

        Good idea about using CD as the track surface role model, but maybe the California climate dictates something different.

        • David

          Good point, but fair to say CA might do well to investigate.  Considering its reputation, a worthy goal might
          be to have a surface that will appeal to the broadest possible audience; they
          simply don’t have such a surface now.  

      • MA

        Churchill Downs is a joke on big race days. They soup that thing up every time, especially when sealed.

        • Ace

           Your lack of knowledge regarding racetrack conditions is astounding.  By definition, a sealed track is packed to prevent moisture from undermining it.  By definition, a sealed track is souped up.

    • nu-fan

      Trinniberg was on that day!

    • MA

      Every track has a bias.

      • brussellky

        Not an exteme one that liteally dictates the results.  Santa Anita’s bias is rarely as strong as it was this weekend.

  • David

    Makes sense. 
    Personally, I can’t see any growth for the BC unless it does make SA
    it’s permanent home.  The only negatives
    are the Euro bias and, save South America, the PT timing makes most interested
    markets more difficult to cultivate. 
    Weather and star power are huge considerations.  Part of such a deal would no doubt would be
    a year-long branding initiative by the owner and BCL, a big plus.  Churchill has demonstrated a rather blatant
    non-caring attitude towards the rest of the US industry, NY will no doubt take
    years to stabilize, Florida is nice in November but has little to offer and Del
    Mar then wouldn’t have to widen its turf track or switch to dirt.  No, I think you’re on point. 

    • nu-fan

      David:  I think that having a permanent home for the Breeders’ Cup makes a lot of sense.  Santa Anita, definitely, will be able to brand this race if on a regular schedule than every so many years.  However, I’ve been wondering why the Breeders’ Cup runs on Fridays and Saturdays, instead of Saturdays and Sundays?  That might help with time zones and all of that.  And, it might open up more opportunities for fans (with attendance and wagers) to go to the track if it wasn’t held on a work day. 

      • David

        You bring up a good point with Friday but Sunday may not be
        net-up.  I’d sooner like them to
        consider back-to-back Saturdays. 
        Certainly there are a host of things that would say “no” but Craig
        Fravel is smart enough to take some calculated risk rather than just sit on a
        lead.

        • nu-fan

          David:  Back-to-back Saturdays would be great but it might make it more difficult for those who travel (and take time off from work).  That would be over a week of accommodations that, also, might exclude those who would find it more difficult to afford this lengthier stay.  Some will be able to do so but when looking at numbers, it might not attract enough numbers of fans.

      • LongTimeEconomist

        Is the reason it’s not on Sunday because of the competition that would come from pro football?

        • nu-fan

          Good possibility regarding football.  However, that would make more sense for the rest of the country where they have professional football teams. But, the LA area doesn’t have a professional football team anymore. (Amazing, isn’t it?)  So, I don’t know how many of those living in that area would have passed up a chance to attend the races for some game being played elsewhere.   Also, I’m not certain that those who would attend a Breeders Cup event would pass that opportunity up for just some football game on TV, especially, at this time of year where these are just regular games.  Sure, there will be some avid football fans who wouldn’t miss their game for anything.  But I keep thinking of the numbers of people who couldn’t attend or watch the Friday racing because they were at work.  Wouldn’t that be a larger number than those attracted to football?  I don’t have an answer to all of this but I do wonder about the timing of these races.  It drove me nuts on Friday.  I wanted to watch the races and do some wagering but—I had to be at work!  On Sunday, I just watched the Friday races that I saved on my DVR.  Not nearly the same experience!

          • LongTimeEconomist

            I was thinking in terms of the lost wagering nationwide. People who bet on horses bet on pro football and watch a lot of it. When I was involved in racetrack ownership, pro football definitely affected our total wagering, and I would think that ‘s even more true today.

          • nu-fan

            LongTimeEconomist:  You have more info than I have on this.  I wonder if football wagering in the LA market is up or down at this time?  Without their own team, are there less of these fans?  Again, I don’t know the statistics on who attends, watches, or wagers the Breeders Cup.  The local (LA market) versus nationwide or international market could change the parameters of making these decisions on timing. By the way, Golden Gate Fields has to contend with two professional football teams as well as two professional baseball teams. On Sundays, GGF has $1 days for entrance, hot dogs and beer. They have to when competing with the Raiders or the 49ers.

  • No Penalties in Horse Racing

    Without a doubt, there was a huge speed bias on that track.   The best horse shouldn’t always win, but the best horse should have a fair chance to win.  Nobody can say Trinniberg is the best sprinter in the nation.   

  • David

    Makes sense. 
    Personally, I can’t see any growth for the BC unless it does make SA
    it’s permanent home.  The only negatives
    are the Euro bias and, save South America, the PT timing makes most interested
    markets more difficult to cultivate. 
    Weather and star power are huge considerations.  Part of such a deal would no doubt would be
    a year-long branding initiative by the owner and BCL, a big plus.  Churchill has demonstrated a rather blatant
    non-caring attitude towards the rest of the US industry, NY will no doubt take
    years to stabilize, Florida is nice in November but has little to offer and Del
    Mar then wouldn’t have to widen its turf track or switch to dirt.  No, I think you’re on point. 

  • David

    I took him but admit CA racing made me do it – fly to the
    quarter pole and let all behind you get tired at the same time.  The track can be fixed; Butch Lehr is
    available so get him to build a clone (tribute to Jim Rome) to CD’s strip and
    there you go.

  • Thelibrarian

    I would LOVE to see the BC move around THE WORLD. NOT just the US. & be a TRUE INTERNATIONAL EVENT. In the US…. CA. is probably the best shot for good weather for the 2 day event. East coast is just too cold & unstable at this time of year! There must be other places that have weather like CA. in NOV? Of course…the BC might have to step up for shipping expenses like Japan & Dubai? THAT might be a problem?

  • Thelibrarian

    I would LOVE to see the BC move around THE WORLD. NOT just the US. & be a TRUE INTERNATIONAL EVENT. In the US…. CA. is probably the best shot for good weather for the 2 day event. East coast is just too cold & unstable at this time of year! There must be other places that have weather like CA. in NOV? Of course…the BC might have to step up for shipping expenses like Japan & Dubai? THAT might be a problem?

  • nu-fan

    Nucky:  You’re so right.  So is David.  California rarely has hostile weather.  An earthquake or so?  Yes, but rarely torrential downpours, hurricanes, freeqzing temperatures, and so on.  When so much is riding (plans, dollars, etc.) on an event of this level, it’s important to be able to count on everthing coming off really well.  Perhaps, if the Breeders’ Cup is held on a regular basis at Santa Anita, the fan base and “fervor” will grow.  When the race is bounced around, it’s really hard to get the continuous promotions going.

  • Meyer1127

    And why should every single big race be on the East Coast?
    My,My someone wants the whole PIE.

  • nu-fan

    Should the Breeders’ Cup be held at Santa Anita on a regular basis?  Yes.  First, more money stays in the U.S. as opposed to having it in some other country.  Why wouldn’t we want that?  And, the international crowd?  Who doesn’t love coming to California, especially, Southern California?  It’s got great weather and other things to do.   There aren’t as many die-hard horseracing fans as there used to be but when they have a chance to travel to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup and, at the same time, have a chance to see the many sites in the region, it makes it easier to sell a ticket.  There aren’t that many places in the U.S. that has great weather at this time of year and, at the same time, has the resources to put on a big show.  And, Southern California is the entertainment capital.  They know how to put on that great show for the fans.  Every track will have its shares of a negative or two.  That’s the way it is.  Get over it!  For the fans, however, who bring in the money to keep racing alive, Santa Anita is the place to hold this event.  Wish Golden Gate Fields was larger; it would have been a great location as well.   Great weather and a destination for domestic/international travelers.  But, as a friend of mine who visited Santa Anita, not too long ago, remarked–”Santa Anita makes Golden Gate Fields look like a junior high school track field.”  And, we love Golden Gate Fields!

  • nu-fan

    Should the Breeders’ Cup be held at Santa Anita on a regular basis?  Yes.  First, more money stays in the U.S. as opposed to having it in some other country.  Why wouldn’t we want that?  And, the international crowd?  Who doesn’t love coming to California, especially, Southern California?  It’s got great weather and other things to do.   There aren’t as many die-hard horseracing fans as there used to be but when they have a chance to travel to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup and, at the same time, have a chance to see the many sites in the region, it makes it easier to sell a ticket.  There aren’t that many places in the U.S. that has great weather at this time of year and, at the same time, has the resources to put on a big show.  And, Southern California is the entertainment capital.  They know how to put on that great show for the fans.  Every track will have its shares of a negative or two.  That’s the way it is.  Get over it!  For the fans, however, who bring in the money to keep racing alive, Santa Anita is the place to hold this event.  Wish Golden Gate Fields was larger; it would have been a great location as well.   Great weather and a destination for domestic/international travelers.  But, as a friend of mine who visited Santa Anita, not too long ago, remarked–”Santa Anita makes Golden Gate Fields look like a junior high school track field.”  And, we love Golden Gate Fields!

  • Herb Leliwa

    Agreed.  I haven’t bet the Breeders’ Cup since they stopped coming East.  The decision to stagnate at a few select parks, the greedy move to two days fleshed out with trumped up “championship” races, and now, the ill-conceived and image-motivated ban on Lasix, making such races a lottery about guessing who will bleed, have rendered the BC increasingly unpalatable.  The BC has taken giant steps on the road to irrelevancy. 

  • nu-fan

    David:  I think that having a permanent home for the Breeders’ Cup makes a lot of sense.  Santa Anita, definitely, will be able to brand this race if on a regular schedule than every so many years.  However, I’ve been wondering why the Breeders’ Cup runs on Fridays and Saturdays, instead of Saturdays and Sundays?  That might help with time zones and all of that.  And, it might open up more opportunities for fans (with attendance and wagers) to go to the track if it wasn’t held on a work day. 

  • nu-fan

    Trinniberg was on that day!

  • MA

    Every track has a bias.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/MyBig-Red/100000980578079 MyBig Red

    I’d love to see the Breeder’s Cup return to Gulfstream Park. Florida has beautiful weather this time of year & the surface at Gulfstream in my opinion, is perfect & and I prefer Gulfstream, since it is closer to my home :)

    • Larryburndorf

      I’d agree with you if they had not turned it into a shopping mall featuring a race track.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/MyBig-Red/100000980578079 MyBig Red

    I’d love to see the Breeder’s Cup return to Gulfstream Park. Florida has beautiful weather this time of year & the surface at Gulfstream in my opinion, is perfect & and I prefer Gulfstream, since it is closer to my home :)

  • Insidethepylons

    When another track gets their own song as good as “My California”, then maybe they can talk about hosting a Breeder’s Cup.

    Until then, good luck with that!

  • Insidethepylons

    When another track gets their own song as good as “My California”, then maybe they can talk about hosting a Breeder’s Cup.

    Until then, good luck with that!

  • MA

    Santa Anita is a tremendous facility perfectly capable of hosting the Breeders’ Cup every year. Unfortunately, the Breeders’ Cup organization tampers with that facility, catering to those “show business types and corporate execs” and forgetting the real horse racing fans who show up the other 99% of the time. Did you roam around everywhere and see all the prime areas that were shut off to normal people last weekend? All of the tents, bars, carpets and ropes that wreaked havoc on traffic flow and left lots of people angry, all so those show business types could sip their champagne and not even look at the horses around them? And everyone really LOVED the 10 minute interviews with sponsors’ brand managers playing on the track feed all day. That’s not what the fans want, that’s what the “shareholders” want. The BC organization has become more about business than horse racing, and has gotten so far away from its roots, sometimes I wonder if there should be a BC anymore, let alone at Santa Anita every year.

    • Barbara

      This.

    • Hadrianmarcus

      I also attended the Santa Anita BC this year (all the way from Virginia) …loved the weather and a weekend of safe racing. There is a lot ‘right’ about the Breeders Cup…and I don’t mind sponsor’s getting their air time…if they contribute to the finanical well-being of the event. However, the running joke in my section of the stands was that we were part of great ‘unwashed’….unworthy of access to the ‘premium’ areas of the event. It was a caste system oriented toward celebrities and executives. The average fan…seemed to be a necessary tolerance and nothing more. For the average ‘fan’ to shell out money to attend in this economy…..he/she deserved better treatment.  But just like CDI building the Mansion at Churchill Downs for 322 ‘haves’…something tells me these tracks get more and more empty if you keep rubbing the ‘have-nots’ noses in it.

      • nu-fan

        Hadrianmarcus:  Yes, I do not like seeing “caste systems” either–anywhere.  I don’t know how the premium seats were distributed but, when I checked very early in the year, seats were available everywhere.  So, perhaps, those sections sold out early.  (???)  By the way, those sections cost a lot of money.  I really like your comment about the sponsors and their air time.  That is something that some people do not get and they kind of curse these interests.  But, horseracing needs their money coming in.  The business side of horseracing is essential for the survival of this sport.

    • nu-fan

      MA:  Yes, it is a great facility and it does cater to entertainment but not necessarily for the purpose of those in that industry but to the fans who really like that fun aspect to horseracing.  The celebs are fun to watch and add a little glitz to the event.  It also brings in publicity to the Breeders Cup.  These fans have money that is just as valuable as those who are die-hard funs.  But,  there aren’t that many “real” horseracing fans anymore.  At least, there aren’t enough of them to keep this sport from fading away.  They may show up 99% of the time but they are becoming such a small group and it appears that they are fading away very quickly.

    • kochrepellent

      MA: I couldn’t agree more.  I was particularly put off by the paddock and walking ring restrictions.  They made seeing the horses extremely difficult.  The explanation I was given was that the restrictions were for security reasons.  I guess that means the high rollers aren’t security threats and the low rollers are.

      • MA

        What a BS reason.

    • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

      “I wonder if it should be a BC anymore”???…GMAFB…Please…

  • MA

    Santa Anita is a tremendous facility perfectly capable of hosting the Breeders’ Cup every year. Unfortunately, the Breeders’ Cup organization tampers with that facility, catering to those “show business types and corporate execs” and forgetting the real horse racing fans who show up the other 99% of the time. Did you roam around everywhere and see all the prime areas that were shut off to normal people last weekend? All of the tents, bars, carpets and ropes that wreaked havoc on traffic flow and left lots of people angry, all so those show business types could sip their champagne and not even look at the horses around them? And everyone really LOVED the 10 minute interviews with sponsors’ brand managers playing on the track feed all day. That’s not what the fans want, that’s what the “shareholders” want. The BC organization has become more about business than horse racing, and has gotten so far away from its roots, sometimes I wonder if there should be a BC anymore, let alone at Santa Anita every year.

  • David

    You bring up a good point with Friday but Sunday may not be
    net-up.  I’d sooner like them to
    consider back-to-back Saturdays. 
    Certainly there are a host of things that would say “no” but Craig
    Fravel is smart enough to take some calculated risk rather than just sit on a
    lead.

  • Hadrianmarcus

    When Mr. Gaines and others created the Breeders Cup, it was intended to be a showcase and to be rotated amongst the country’s tracks. And not exclusive to New York, California and Kentucky, I might add.  I find the whole East versus West bitchfest destructive to horse racing and thus showcases petty personalities (yeah, you, Mr. Repole). Yes, Kentucky and New York are blessed with two of three Triple Crown races…and logically, it would be fair(er) and logical (weather-wise) to award it to Santa Anita. But the original intent was to rotate it…and that should be honored. Personally, I’d like to see the Breeders Cup be permanent held at Hialeah Race Track….warm weather, great turf course (in it’s day)…but that would be too logical.

    • Fred234

      The only thing permanent at HIA these days is dust and guys outside the gates selling oranges and tamales.

    • MA

      So what you’re saying is location should be permanent only if it’s at the track you want it at.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/MyBig-Red/100000980578079 MyBig Red

      I LOVE Hialeah as well. Perhaps it is because that is where I grew up and spent my days off, enjoying the Beautiful landscaped track & the Flamingos. The weather is perfect & so many of the Great Horses, Trainers, Owners and Jockeys have raced and trained there since the track was built many years ago. Even Secretariat spent the winter months training there!! 

      • Ace

         That’s good, except Hialeah isn’t a thoroughbred race track.  So eff em

  • Hadrianmarcus

    When Mr. Gaines and others created the Breeders Cup, it was intended to be a showcase and to be rotated amongst the country’s tracks. And not exclusive to New York, California and Kentucky, I might add.  I find the whole East versus West bitchfest destructive to horse racing and thus showcases petty personalities (yeah, you, Mr. Repole). Yes, Kentucky and New York are blessed with two of three Triple Crown races…and logically, it would be fair(er) and logical (weather-wise) to award it to Santa Anita. But the original intent was to rotate it…and that should be honored. Personally, I’d like to see the Breeders Cup be permanent held at Hialeah Race Track….warm weather, great turf course (in it’s day)…but that would be too logical.

  • Khambat

    Agreed. Horseplayers…east of the Mississippi…in Balitmore (Pimlico)…Chicago (Arlington Park)….Florida…(Gulfstream Park & Hialeah Park)….New Orleans (Fair Grounds)…East as places more than JUST New York.

  • Dantana

    The 2012 Breeder Cup was safe & secure.  All horses finished, there were two scratches, and 72 hour surveillance. The track should have utilized the infield like the KY Derby & Preakness.  Fill the infield for five bucks.  The Breeders Cup needs to re-evaluate their seating costs and grandstand admission . 
     More than 2 of the young horses bled.  Lets have a press release from the California veterinary colony, not just Dr. Arthur.The east coast has the Triple Crown.  Give the west coast a permanent major venue.

    • nu-fan

      Dantana:  A friend of mine used to live, any years ago, in So Cal and went to the races at Santa Anita as well as Hollywood Park.  I forget which of these two tracks (maybe, it was both) used to allow fans in the infield.  He said that he and his wife loved the infield even though they could have easily afforded the seats.  I think I know what he was talking about.  I can’t stay in my seat for more than 15 minutes.  Would rather be walking around and viewing the paddock area as well as getting as close as possible to the track.  I, probably, would love being the infield and getting as close to the action as possible.  And, yes, I agree with you: The East Coast has their events.  Spread the interest in horseracing around the country a little with the Breeders Cup on the West Coast.

    • Lost In The Fog

      Not sure what you mean by utilizing the infield.  The infield was open both days at Santa Anita and available to anyone with a general admission ticket.  General admission tickets were extremely affordable, costing $10 for Friday and $15 for Saturday if purchased online and printed at home.  I pay that much to go to a movie.

  • Dantana

    The 2012 Breeder Cup was safe & secure.  All horses finished, there were two scratches, and 72 hour surveillance. The track should have utilized the infield like the KY Derby & Preakness.  Fill the infield for five bucks.  The Breeders Cup needs to re-evaluate their seating costs and grandstand admission . 
     More than 2 of the young horses bled.  Lets have a press release from the California veterinary colony, not just Dr. Arthur.The east coast has the Triple Crown.  Give the west coast a permanent major venue.

  • LongTimeEconomist

    Is the reason it’s not on Sunday because of the competition that would come from pro football?

  • loosehorse

    I have been against this idea for a long time, mainly because I don’t want to see California horses have an unfair advantage every year however this is the best argument I have seen for the Breeders’ Cup to be at Santa Anita permanently:

    “But the Breeders’ Cup will never be bigger than the Kentucky Oaks/Derby
    weekend in the spring at Churchill Downs. Neither will it ever top the
    excitement or on-track crowds that Belmont Park brings when a horse is
    going for the Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes. It would be the
    biggest thing, not just for Santa Anita but for all of California
    racing, if the Breeders’ Cup set up shop there for multiple years.”

  • loosehorse

    I have been against this idea for a long time, mainly because I don’t want to see California horses have an unfair advantage every year however this is the best argument I have seen for the Breeders’ Cup to be at Santa Anita permanently:

    “But the Breeders’ Cup will never be bigger than the Kentucky Oaks/Derby
    weekend in the spring at Churchill Downs. Neither will it ever top the
    excitement or on-track crowds that Belmont Park brings when a horse is
    going for the Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes. It would be the
    biggest thing, not just for Santa Anita but for all of California
    racing, if the Breeders’ Cup set up shop there for multiple years.”

  • Barbara

    This.

  • Second Watcher

    Off the subject, but I was just thinking yesterday that the ‘Breeders Cup’ ceremonies rarely, if ever, pay tribute to The Breeders!  Why aren’t the people who have probably put more blood, sweat and tears into the industry recognized when their babies win?

    BTW—imagine if Belmont Park had been awarded the BC for this year!

  • Second Watcher

    Off the subject, but I was just thinking yesterday that the ‘Breeders Cup’ ceremonies rarely, if ever, pay tribute to The Breeders!  Why aren’t the people who have probably put more blood, sweat and tears into the industry recognized when their babies win?

    BTW—imagine if Belmont Park had been awarded the BC for this year!

  • Fred234

    The only thing permanent at HIA these days is dust and guys outside the gates selling oranges and tamales.

  • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

    The argument is sound and everyone is entitled to their opinion, but can’t say I agree.  I think the Board has lost sight about what the Breeders Cup is about.  Like others have said they appear to be more concerned with the corporate people and stars they can attract to the event than the quality of the event itself.  I know most people will not agree with me, but racing in all sorts of different conditions and weather types is what racing is about.  The truly great horses will be able to handle any racetrack at any place. 
    I would like to see what has been suggested before, a three track rotation with a Wild Card track in their every other year (such as Oaklawn or Hialeah if they could get the track back in shape).  Do it so that it rotates such as this: CA, Wild Card, KY, Wild Card, NY, Wild Card. 
    I don’t buy the whole need to build a base thing.  There is no greater fan and sponsor base for the event than in KY I’m sure.  Churchill needs to be more in tune to working with the BC and not showing apathy to the whole thing. 
    I also agree that the Board and mentality of the Breeders Cup has changed, and while change is good, destroying the notion of any tradition in the sport is not. 

    • brussellky

      Where would you hold the turf races at Oaklawn?

      • Ace

         in his mind with the other races

  • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

    The argument is sound and everyone is entitled to their opinion, but can’t say I agree.  I think the Board has lost sight about what the Breeders Cup is about.  Like others have said they appear to be more concerned with the corporate people and stars they can attract to the event than the quality of the event itself.  I know most people will not agree with me, but racing in all sorts of different conditions and weather types is what racing is about.  The truly great horses will be able to handle any racetrack at any place. 
    I would like to see what has been suggested before, a three track rotation with a Wild Card track in their every other year (such as Oaklawn or Hialeah if they could get the track back in shape).  Do it so that it rotates such as this: CA, Wild Card, KY, Wild Card, NY, Wild Card. 
    I don’t buy the whole need to build a base thing.  There is no greater fan and sponsor base for the event than in KY I’m sure.  Churchill needs to be more in tune to working with the BC and not showing apathy to the whole thing. 
    I also agree that the Board and mentality of the Breeders Cup has changed, and while change is good, destroying the notion of any tradition in the sport is not. 

  • Hadrianmarcus

    I also attended the Santa Anita BC this year (all the way from Virginia) …loved the weather and a weekend of safe racing. There is a lot ‘right’ about the Breeders Cup…and I don’t mind sponsor’s getting their air time…if they contribute to the finanical well-being of the event. However, the running joke in my section of the stands was that we were part of great ‘unwashed’….unworthy of access to the ‘premium’ areas of the event. It was a caste system oriented toward celebrities and executives. The average fan…seemed to be a necessary tolerance and nothing more. For the average ‘fan’ to shell out money to attend in this economy…..he/she deserved better treatment.  But just like CDI building the Mansion at Churchill Downs for 322 ‘haves’…something tells me these tracks get more and more empty if you keep rubbing the ‘have-nots’ noses in it.

  • Harry

    Television ratings down I guess half East Coast no electricity for television and sadly especially in New York and New Jersey no HOMES,NO FOOD,FLOODED ROADS and SHELTERS OVERLOADED WITH FOLKS WHO LOST EVERYTHING and NO GASOLINE. TVG ratings down dahhhhhhhhh I guess so.

    • Lost In The Fog

      Check your facts.  Despite the issues related to Hurricane Sandy the NBC ratings for the BC Classic were up.

  • Harry

    Television ratings down I guess half East Coast no electricity for television and sadly especially in New York and New Jersey no HOMES,NO FOOD,FLOODED ROADS and SHELTERS OVERLOADED WITH FOLKS WHO LOST EVERYTHING and NO GASOLINE. TVG ratings down dahhhhhhhhh I guess so.

  • Larryburndorf

    I’d agree with you if they had not turned it into a shopping mall featuring a race track.

  • salthebarber

    Santa Anita is probably the finest track in the world. Whenever I was there, I went into a trance-like state. Also, I had my best BC ever when it was run at Santa Anita a few years ago. But, making it a permanent residence is not a good idea in my mind. From a player’s point of view, I think it is more challenging to keep it moving around. It’s probably not fair to the horses and trainers to make it a California event. As an example, pretty much all the East Coast turf sprinters get eliminated in the 6 1/2F run on the downhill course. Even the Euro’s find that course a little wierd. Running style biases are also an issue. Keeping it moving around makes it more challenging and fair to all.

  • salthebarber

    Santa Anita is probably the finest track in the world. Whenever I was there, I went into a trance-like state. Also, I had my best BC ever when it was run at Santa Anita a few years ago. But, making it a permanent residence is not a good idea in my mind. From a player’s point of view, I think it is more challenging to keep it moving around. It’s probably not fair to the horses and trainers to make it a California event. As an example, pretty much all the East Coast turf sprinters get eliminated in the 6 1/2F run on the downhill course. Even the Euro’s find that course a little wierd. Running style biases are also an issue. Keeping it moving aaround keeps it more challenging and fair to all.

  • brussellky

    If Breeder’s Cup moves to a permanent host it should either be at Churchill Downs or Breeder’s Cup should hire their track superintendent to oversee it.  It is ridiculous that championships are determined based upon which horse is lucky enough to have the right running style or post position to take advantage of a pronounced track bias.  1995 at Belmont – golden rail, 1996 at Woodbine – golden rail, 2001 at Belmont – dead rail and now 2012 at Santa Anita – extreme speed bias. 

  • brussellky

    If Breeder’s Cup moves to a permanent host it should either be at Churchill Downs or Breeder’s Cup should hire their track superintendent to oversee it.  It is ridiculous that championships are determined based upon which horse is lucky enough to have the right running style or post position to take advantage of a pronounced track bias.  1995 at Belmont – golden rail, 1996 at Woodbine – golden rail, 2001 at Belmont – dead rail and now 2012 at Santa Anita – extreme speed bias. 

  • brussellky

    Where would you hold the turf races at Oaklawn?

  • brussellky

    Not an exteme one that liteally dictates the results.  Santa Anita’s bias is rarely as strong as it was this weekend.

  • Comicalcat

    The one contingent that always seems to be left out of this equation is the Average Joe fan.  BC was intended to be a showcase (as Hadrianmarcus says), but not just for the owners and trainers, but the breeders and fans alike.  That’s what made the rotating venue of key importance. 

    It gave fans all around the country a chance to see it up close and in person once every couple of years.  Not everyone has the spare change to fly across the country and pay for hotel and car on top of already high airfare. 

    Many breeders are the nickel and dime types who can’t leave the farm very often or for any length of time and don’t always have the money to spare on a trip cross country either.

    Rotating the venue also gives horses who are hampered by the track bias one year, another chance to try the next year on a different surface.  It highlights those horses who are true virtuosos on any surface.

    it’s just not right to settle it in any one location.  No matter the logistical difficulties.  Sure, Belmont this year would have been a disaster, but then again Santa Anita in 2003 was pretty near that with the fires in the area that left fans like myself with watery smarting eyes and hampered travelers in the several days following.  We have to deal with those sorts of disruptions regardless.

  • Comicalcat

    The one contingent that always seems to be left out of this equation is the Average Joe fan.  BC was intended to be a showcase (as Hadrianmarcus says), but not just for the owners and trainers, but the breeders and fans alike.  That’s what made the rotating venue of key importance. 

    It gave fans all around the country a chance to see it up close and in person once every couple of years.  Not everyone has the spare change to fly across the country and pay for hotel and car on top of already high airfare. 

    Many breeders are the nickel and dime types who can’t leave the farm very often or for any length of time and don’t always have the money to spare on a trip cross country either.

    Rotating the venue also gives horses who are hampered by the track bias one year, another chance to try the next year on a different surface.  It highlights those horses who are true virtuosos on any surface.

    it’s just not right to settle it in any one location.  No matter the logistical difficulties.  Sure, Belmont this year would have been a disaster, but then again Santa Anita in 2003 was pretty near that with the fires in the area that left fans like myself with watery smarting eyes and hampered travelers in the several days following.  We have to deal with those sorts of disruptions regardless.

  • nu-fan

    Hadrianmarcus:  Yes, I do not like seeing “caste systems” either–anywhere.  I don’t know how the premium seats were distributed but, when I checked very early in the year, seats were available everywhere.  So, perhaps, those sections sold out early.  (???)  By the way, those sections cost a lot of money.  I really like your comment about the sponsors and their air time.  That is something that some people do not get and they kind of curse these interests.  But, horseracing needs their money coming in.  The business side of horseracing is essential for the survival of this sport.

  • nu-fan

    MA:  Yes, it is a great facility and it does cater to entertainment but not necessarily for the purpose of those in that industry but to the fans who really like that fun aspect to horseracing.  The celebs are fun to watch and add a little glitz to the event.  It also brings in publicity to the Breeders Cup.  These fans have money that is just as valuable as those who are die-hard funs.  But,  there aren’t that many “real” horseracing fans anymore.  At least, there aren’t enough of them to keep this sport from fading away.  They may show up 99% of the time but they are becoming such a small group and it appears that they are fading away very quickly.

  • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

    Ok…for some reason Discus not allowing my to reply to direct comments…so in response to brussellky’s comment about holding the turf races at Oaklawn, I don’t see why Cella could not create a course if it meant the Breeders Cup would come.  Obviously a lot of other sites would need to make some changes if they were considered.

    • Ace

       Just lend him the $5 million dollars and we are good to go.

  • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

    Ok…for some reason Discus not allowing my to reply to direct comments…so in response to brussellky’s comment about holding the turf races at Oaklawn, I don’t see why Cella could not create a course if it meant the Breeders Cup would come.  Obviously a lot of other sites would need to make some changes if they were considered.

  • nu-fan

    Dantana:  A friend of mine used to live, any years ago, in So Cal and went to the races at Santa Anita as well as Hollywood Park.  I forget which of these two tracks (maybe, it was both) used to allow fans in the infield.  He said that he and his wife loved the infield even though they could have easily afforded the seats.  I think I know what he was talking about.  I can’t stay in my seat for more than 15 minutes.  Would rather be walking around and viewing the paddock area as well as getting as close as possible to the track.  I, probably, would love being the infield and getting as close to the action as possible.  And, yes, I agree with you: The East Coast has their events.  Spread the interest in horseracing around the country a little with the Breeders Cup on the West Coast.

  • Rachel

    Hmmm…choices, choices…250 miles to Elmont….1000 miles to Louisville…or 3100 miles to Santa Anita….

    …of course, as Ray says, if I was a person of means, I could get there every year…

    • nu-fan

      Rachel:  The travel distance would be the same for those living in So Cal if the races were held in New York or Kentucky. 

  • Rachel

    Hmmm…choices, choices…250 miles to Elmont….1000 miles to Louisville…or 3100 miles to Santa Anita….

    …of course, as Ray says, if I was a person of means, I could get there every year…

  • nu-fan

    Good possibility regarding football.  However, that would make more sense for the rest of the country where they have professional football teams. But, the LA area doesn’t have a professional football team anymore. (Amazing, isn’t it?)  So, I don’t know how many of those living in that area would have passed up a chance to attend the races for some game being played elsewhere.   Also, I’m not certain that those who would attend a Breeders Cup event would pass that opportunity up for just some football game on TV, especially, at this time of year where these are just regular games.  Sure, there will be some avid football fans who wouldn’t miss their game for anything.  But I keep thinking of the numbers of people who couldn’t attend or watch the Friday racing because they were at work.  Wouldn’t that be a larger number than those attracted to football?  I don’t have an answer to all of this but I do wonder about the timing of these races.  It drove me nuts on Friday.  I wanted to watch the races and do some wagering but—I had to be at work!  On Sunday, I just watched the Friday races that I saved on my DVR.  Not nearly the same experience!

  • nu-fan

    David:  Back-to-back Saturdays would be great but it might make it more difficult for those who travel (and take time off from work).  That would be over a week of accommodations that, also, might exclude those who would find it more difficult to afford this lengthier stay.  Some will be able to do so but when looking at numbers, it might not attract enough numbers of fans.

  • LongTimeEconomist

    I was thinking in terms of the lost wagering nationwide. People who bet on horses bet on pro football and watch a lot of it. When I was involved in racetrack ownership, pro football definitely affected our total wagering, and I would think that ‘s even more true today.

  • nu-fan

    Rachel:  The travel distance would be the same for those living in So Cal if the races were held in New York or Kentucky. 

  • Concerned Observer

    As usual. Focus on fixing  something that is not broken, while ignoring the dozen critical issues that are killing racing.

  • Concerned Observer

    As usual. Focus on fixing  something that is not broken, while ignoring the dozen critical issues that are killing racing.

  • Tinky

    No matter how reasonable some of Ray’s (and others’) points may be, it unfortunately all boils down to money.

    The fact is that the BC would be a much more serious test of Champions if it were run at different tracks. At Santa Anita, it will largely be the test of those turf runners that relish hard ground. 1:31 and change? Please. The Europeans often dominate because they are usually far superior, but anyone who doesn’t think that more than a few of them are disadvantaged on far harder ground they have ever seen is deluded.

    Also, the BC loves to bill itself as a “World Championship”. What better way to encourage European participation than holding it in hot weather, as far away as possible, and with a turf course that is almost invariably hard? 

    Finally, as others have pointed out, the BC tends to cater to the wealthier patrons, while the average fan, who may not be able to afford a good seat – let alone a plane ticket and hotel – gets the short end of the stick.

    John Gaines was, first and foremost, interested in promoting and developing the sport. I don’t see that from the current BC power brokers, nor do I believe that Gaines would have approved of this proposal.

    • Barbara

      So all of those previous year’s west coast BC winners from Europe were running on soft turf? Goldikova, Conduit…
      Tinky, a point of logic here. The Euros that make the trip to CA can usually act on firm going and maybe even prefer it. What they often abhor is a slick, loose turf, concert ruined turf course at CD.

      • Tinky

        Barbara -

        The argument that because a few exceptional, top-class horses, have been able to win in California on hard turf, it is somehow a fair or neutral surface, is ridiculous.

        Of course the European trainers will be more inclined to send over those runners that they believe will act on a hard course, but more than a few of them don’t. More to the point, why should the Breeders’ Cup “World Championship” discriminate against those runners (both foreign and domestic) that prefer give in the ground?

        Funny you should mention CD, as it is precisely that course on which Miesque proved her extraordinary brilliance. She was able to win on both a hard CA course, and the (very different) Churchill course. Had the BC been run every year in CA, we never would have had an opportunity to learn just how special she was.

        • Barbara

          Goldikova won at SA and CD, too. Our English Channel won in a MP bog against a highly touted Ballydoyle “bestweeverhaddujour”. What’s your point? That we should empty a water truck onto the SA turf? Only exceptional top class horses from anywhere need apply. If the Euros are having so much trouble with the course, why do they do so well at SA and show up there just as often if not more so when it is held there? Just because Euro courses tend to be good at best does not mean their horses can’t act on our firm green dirt. There is nothing ever neutral for a horse that ships halfway around the world to race against horses that walked out of their own stall or popped off a domestic jet without quarantine.

          We don’t go to Europe to race, but they seem happy enough to take the bonus round at the end of their busy season over here. Why should our firm turf wonders have to suffer with soft ground to suit a couple of second string Euros when their best seem to do just fine? It is only called BC “World Championships” for marketing appeal – is that that hard to comprehend?

          • Tinky

            The Euros generally do well everywhere they go, because they are generally superior to their American counterparts.

            The points that you continue to miss is that they are at a greater disadvantage in CA, and that running the BC turf races on hard ground year after year is unfair to any horses that prefer give in ground.

            You are also wrong about neutrality. Neither very soft, nor very hard ground are remotely neutral. 

          • Barbara

            No, Tinky. You fail to comprehend that you are just flat out wrong based on actual results. There is no “perfect” or “neutral” turf course and weather has a lot to say in most venues outside CA. But we can agree that the superior animal most often overcomes all and wins.

          • Tinky

            Try talking to any horseman, Barbara. In European terms, anything from good to firm to good to soft is considered neutral. In other words, there are no excuses for good horses being unable to handle those surfaces.

            If you can’t understand the difference between that middle ground and the extremes, then I’m afraid I can’t help you.

          • Barbara

            I’m positive you can’t help me. I guess all the help I need here comes from Goldikova, Spinning World, Conduit, Six Perfections, Islington, Midday, Donativum, Pounced, and High Chaparral (he won the year before in 2002 at Arlington Park, too.) There is no “horseman” who calls a course that ranges from firm to soft “Neutral” because there is no horseman that isn’t looking to spot his horse where that particular horse belongs. 

          • Tinky

            Your understanding of European racing, and the mindsets of European trainers, is virtually non-existant.

          • Barbara

            Your lack of comprehension of reality or facts is exceeded only by your pretensions of authority. Are we done yet?

  • Tinky

    No matter how reasonable some of Ray’s (and others’) points may be, it unfortunately all boils down to money.

    The fact is that the BC would be a much more serious test of Champions if it were run at different tracks. At Santa Anita, it will largely be the test of those turf runners that relish hard ground. 1:31 and change? Please. The Europeans often dominate because they are usually far superior, but anyone who doesn’t think that more than a few of them are disadvantaged on far harder ground they have ever seen is deluded.

    Also, the BC loves to bill itself as a “World Championship”. What better way to encourage European participation than holding it in hot weather, as far away as possible, and with a turf course that is almost invariably hard? 

    Finally, as others have pointed out, the BC tends to cater to the wealthier patrons, while the average fan, who may not be able to afford a good seat – let alone a plane ticket and hotel – gets the short end of the stick.

    John Gaines was, first and foremost, interested in promoting and developing the sport. I don’t see that from the current BC power brokers, nor do I believe that Gaines would have approved of this proposal.

  • nu-fan

    LongTimeEconomist:  You have more info than I have on this.  I wonder if football wagering in the LA market is up or down at this time?  Without their own team, are there less of these fans?  Again, I don’t know the statistics on who attends, watches, or wagers the Breeders Cup.  The local (LA market) versus nationwide or international market could change the parameters of making these decisions on timing. By the way, Golden Gate Fields has to contend with two professional football teams as well as two professional basketball teams. On Sundays, GGF has $1 days for entrance, hot dogs and beer. They have to when competing with the Raiders or the 49ers.

  • Me

    Santa Anita is great. But, the Breeders Cup should be in Kentucky. As much as I disagree with CDI, their casino push and growing disdain for the horseman, the Cup should be there. The November Breed sale begins the following week just 90 miles down the road and the international players would be right there
    Again, Santa Anita is a wonderful venue, Churchill is a dump but it makes sense.

  • Me

    Santa Anita is great. But, the Breeders Cup should be in Kentucky. As much as I disagree with CDI, their casino push and growing disdain for the horseman, the Cup should be there. The November Breed sale begins the following week just 90 miles down the road and the international players would be right there
    Again, Santa Anita is a wonderful venue, Churchill is a dump but it makes sense.

  • Lost In The Fog

    Not sure what you mean by utilizing the infield.  The infield was open both days at Santa Anita and available to anyone with a general admission ticket.  General admission tickets were extremely affordable, costing $10 for Friday and $15 for Saturday if purchased online and printed at home.  I pay that much to go to a movie.

  • Barbara

    So all of those previous year’s west coast BC winners from Europe were running on soft turf? Goldikova, Conduit…
    Tinky, a point of logic here. The Euros that make the trip to CA can usually act on firm going and maybe even prefer it. What they often abhor is a slick, loose turf, concert ruined turf course at CD.

  • Tinky

    Barbara -

    The argument that because a few exceptional, top-class horses, have been able to win in California on hard turf, it is somehow a fair or neutral surface, is ridiculous.

    Of course the European trainers will be more inclined to send over those runners that they believe will act on a hard course, but more than a few of them don’t. More to the point, why should the Breeders’ Cup “World Championship” discriminate against those runners (both foreign and domestic) that prefer give in the ground?

    Funny you should mention CD, as it is precisely that course on which Miesque proved her extraordinary brilliance. She was able to win on both a hard CA course, and the (very different) Churchill course. Had the BC been run every year in CA, we never would have had an opportunity to learn just how special she was.

  • Kcbbaby1

    Catering to the wealthy does not expand the popularity of the sport. 90% of an NFL stadium is dedicated to the masses and 10% to boxes. To block off large areas for the privileged is counter productive to the overall health of the sport. We need to educate people on just how exciting it can be. How many times have you heard someone say that after their first trip to the track and they were hooked. The Breeders cup needs to rotate and make it as positive an experience for all.

    • Lost In The Fog

      I disagree with your premise.  Ticket prices for NFL games generally range from $70 – 400.  Luxury boxes (the 10% you mention) are even higher.  Good grandstand seats for Saturday at the BC were available for less than $200.  Additionally, general admission seats were only $20 ($15 if you bought them online and printed at home.)  Nobody gets into an NFL game for $15!  

      I think the  BC did an outstanding job of accommodating the “average fan” by making an unlimited number of general admission tickets available for essentially the same price one would pay to go to a movie.  What other top-tier sports event does that?  Answer: none.

  • Kcbbaby1

    Catering to the wealthy does not expand the popularity of the sport. 90% of an NFL stadium is dedicated to the masses and 10% to boxes. To block off large areas for the privileged is counter productive to the overall health of the sport. We need to educate people on just how exciting it can be. How many times have you heard someone say that after their first trip to the track and they were hooked. The Breeders cup needs to rotate and make it as positive an experience for all.

  • swaps55

    Good comments and we can all see from the various viewpoints and opinions the complexity of this issue that Paulick has raised.

    I have not been back to Sant Anita since I saw Royal Glint, I think it was, win the Santa Anita handicap.  the announced attendance that day was around 85,000. I had been lucky enough to buy a seat just two days before while on vacation. Santa Anita then was gorgeous and I gather it still is.

    Paulick makes a good argument regarding the weather and quality of the facility.  Maybe it could rotate to Gulfstream to capture the good weather there, hoping no late season hurricane sweeps through the region.  Or Breeders Cup could buy Hialeah and use it one weekend a year and make sure all the turf and dirt tracks have no bias -? :)

    Racing in Kentucky can be cool in November, but people go to football games outdoors. So the argument that the BC could rotate as originally intended is also valid.  Was there a bad experience in Texas or something that resulted in the big track bias of late?

    As for the track bias at Santa Anita this year, the Classic winner Fort Larned won five stakes on five tracks this year.  He and Mucho Macho Man took the track away from local favorite which supposedly had the advantage.  At the top of the stretch did all of you see how both Mucho Macho and Fort Larned both pulled away from the field early in the stretch?

    And I again note that Fort Larned did win stakes on five tracks this year, he started in March and was still winning in November.  He won on dirt at the classic mile and a quarter distance and yet he is not mentioned in the same sentence as Royal Delta and Wise Dan.

    I still think of the classic horses as the heavyweights; the milers the middleweights and the sprinters the light weights – as a classification and not judging the relative merits within the classification. Sugar Ray Robinson was a great middleweight but over time his memory is in the shadow of Muhammad Ali and Joe Louis or Sonny Liston.  But yes pound for pound maybe Sugar Ray was the best and maybe this year pound for pound Royal Delta or Wise Dan is the best…but Fort Larned should be given consideration.

    As for a permanent home for the BC, the heavyweights in the industry will duke that out. And the results will be  debated.

  • swaps55

    Good comments and we can all see from the various viewpoints and opinions the complexity of this issue that Paulick has raised.

    I have not been back to Sant Anita since I saw Royal Glint, I think it was, win the Santa Anita handicap.  the announced attendance that day was around 85,000. I had been lucky enough to buy a seat just two days before while on vacation. Santa Anita then was gorgeous and I gather it still is.

    Paulick makes a good argument regarding the weather and quality of the facility.  Maybe it could rotate to Gulfstream to capture the good weather there, hoping no late season hurricane sweeps through the region.  Or Breeders Cup could buy Hialeah and use it one weekend a year and make sure all the turf and dirt tracks have no bias -? :)

    Racing in Kentucky can be cool in November, but people go to football games outdoors. So the argument that the BC could rotate as originally intended is also valid.  Was there a bad experience in Texas or something that resulted in the big track bias of late?

    As for the track bias at Santa Anita this year, the Classic winner Fort Larned won five stakes on five tracks this year.  He and Mucho Macho Man took the track away from local favorite which supposedly had the advantage.  At the top of the stretch did all of you see how both Mucho Macho and Fort Larned both pulled away from the field early in the stretch?

    And I again note that Fort Larned did win stakes on five tracks this year, he started in March and was still winning in November.  He won on dirt at the classic mile and a quarter distance and yet he is not mentioned in the same sentence as Royal Delta and Wise Dan.

    I still think of the classic horses as the heavyweights; the milers the middleweights and the sprinters the light weights – as a classification and not judging the relative merits within the classification. Sugar Ray Robinson was a great middleweight but over time his memory is in the shadow of Muhammad Ali and Joe Louis or Sonny Liston.  But yes pound for pound maybe Sugar Ray was the best and maybe this year pound for pound Royal Delta or Wise Dan is the best…but Fort Larned should be given consideration.

    As for a permanent home for the BC, the heavyweights in the industry will duke that out. And the results will be  debated.

  • swaps55

    Good idea about using CD as the track surface role model, but maybe the California climate dictates something different.

  • David

    Good point, but fair to say CA might do well to investigate.  Considering its reputation, a worthy goal might
    be to have a surface that will appeal to the broadest possible audience; they
    simply don’t have such a surface now.  

  • kochrepellent

    MA: I couldn’t agree more.  I was particularly put off by the paddock and walking ring restrictions.  They made seeing the horses extremely difficult.  The explanation I was given was that the restrictions were for security reasons.  I guess that means the high rollers aren’t security threats and the low rollers are.

  • LyndaP31

    I definitely do NOT think it should be restricted to one track. I dont care what track it is, it should be rotated!!!

  • LyndaP31

    I definitely do NOT think it should be restricted to one track. I dont care what track it is, it should be rotated!!!

  • Scott Cantor

    Why don’t have the Breeders Cup at Belmont Park. It been awhile since they had it their.

    • Lost In The Fog

      Well for starters there’s the fact that Belmont didn’t even make a bid to host the event. 

  • Scott Cantor

    Why don’t have the Breeders Cup at Belmont Park. It been awhile since they had it their.

  • BobC

    Look at attendance and handle figures for Breeders Cup over the years.  Churchill has consistently put up the best numbers.  Even though I dislike the regime currently in charge, Churchill would be the best choice if BC would choose a permanent home.  But, John Gaines wanted BC to rotate to different sites and we need to stick to his plan.

  • BobC

    Look at attendance and handle figures for Breeders Cup over the years.  Churchill has consistently put up the best numbers.  Even though I dislike the regime currently in charge, Churchill would be the best choice if BC would choose a permanent home.  But, John Gaines wanted BC to rotate to different sites and we need to stick to his plan.

  • MA

    So what you’re saying is location should be permanent only if it’s at the track you want it at.

  • MA

    What a BS reason.

  • MA

    Churchill Downs is a joke on big race days. They soup that thing up every time, especially when sealed.

  • Barbara

    Goldikova won at SA and CD, too. Our English Channel won in a MP bog against a highly touted Ballydoyle “bestweeverhaddujour”. What’s your point? That we should empty a water truck onto the SA turf? Only exceptional top class horses from anywhere need apply. If the Euros are having so much trouble with the course, why do they do so well at SA and show up there just as often if not more so when it is held there? Just because Euro courses tend to be good at best does not mean their horses can’t act on our firm green dirt. There is nothing ever neutral for a horse that ships halfway around the world to race against horses that walked out of their own stall or popped off a domestic jet without quarantine.

    We don’t go to Europe to race, but they seem happy enough to take the bonus round at the end of their busy season over here. Why should our firm turf wonders have to suffer with soft ground to suit a couple of second string Euros when their best seem to do just fine? It is only called BC “World Championships” for marketing appeal – is that that hard to comprehend?

  • Mdwmd45

    Ray, I find it hard to believe you’re serious about this thing. 

    I am uncertain of percentages, but I feel very confident that the vast majority of nominator fees come from the the East, including not only Kentucky, but more recently also from growing breeding states of New York, Pennsylvania, and of course Florida.  These breeders have been the lifeblood of the Cup, and quite obviously without their continued support the Cup collapses. 

    I most certainly agree with the commentor who noted all tracks have a “bias” but surely none as great as the SA downhill turf course.  While it is beautiful, it without doubt gives a significant advantage to horses based at the track. 

    And yes, the weather is more consistent, but that is not what racing is all aout.  In every other racing arena throughout the world, racers and punters take their collective chances on track condition.  If I recall correctly, last year at Churchill we lost the outstanding
    Workforce for the Turf because his connections deemed the turf course too firm and unyielding.  Imagine the status of the course this year at SA where near world record times were recorded.  There could not hav been much “give” to that surface, and I can’t help but think it somewhat disadvantaged not only horses from Europe but also from The East coast.  If the evetn is permanently based at SA, how long until the Euros stop bring their top horses here?  Surely they do not wish to participate where they deem themselves at significant disadvatage, and who could blame them for that stance?

    Another factor to consider is the cost of shipping.  Why would you propose that East coast based horses should bear the burden of shipping (about $10,00 round trip) every year?  Further, some horse are just not good shippers and this might exclude some very good horses from participating.  I will also make a comment on something I have been told by many horsemen over the years, but have no way to validate.  I am advised that some horses are very unsettled by the constant, low level tremors that exists in Southern California.  If this is so, and who is truly to know, this could also have a very disquieting effect on horses new to the locale.

    I have a very good idea that Mr. Gaines knew full well what he was suggesting when he proposed rotating the venues for the Cup.  By all means SA should get their fair share of the events, but in fairness this should be around one of every four Cups.  There are four major racing venues in the USA; New York, Southern California, Kentucky at certain times of the year, and Southern Florida in the winter.  This is not meant to discredit racing in New Orleans or in Chicago, and we shouldn’t forget about the emerging very high quality of racing coming from North of the border at Woodbine.  All these venues host some of the best racing on the continent at various times of the year.

    The Cup needs to be rotated.  A lot of people are getting sick of the East coast-West coast thing; lets work together to make it better for everybody, and not just an exclusive few.

    Thanks.

    • NAFTA

      Spot on.

  • Panzaretta

    50,000?? That’s peanuts.
    Manchester United Soccer Club gets 75,000+ to their matches twice a week, every week, one event, no legal betting onsite.
    We have a long way to go Baby.
    Bring back longer races and fall championship series, the BC has too many races and has diluted the product to boredom.

    • Ace

       Good comparison, soccer to horse racing….what?

  • Panzaretta

    50,000?? That’s peanuts.
    Manchester United Soccer Club gets 75,000+ to their matches twice a week, every week, one event, no legal betting onsite.
    We have a long way to go Baby.
    Bring back longer races and fall championship series, the BC has too many races and has diluted the product to boredom.

  • wallyhorse

    If we going to have a permanent home for the Breeders’ Cup, it is likely going to be Churchill Downs.  Aside from the fact the breeders and others are there anyway for the sales the following week, lights are a big reason why Churchill has a big advantage in the way of a permanent home for the Breeders’ Cup.  

    With the bump in ratings from a prime-time Classic in spite of ALL of the weather issues in the east due to Sandy that STILL have many people without power (not to mention the fact the Classic also aired opposite Alabama-LSU on CBS, Oregon-USC on FOX, Oklahoma State-Kansas State on ABC and a NASCAR Nationwide Series race on ESPN), I’m suspecting NBC is going to be insisting on lights at whatever track hosts the Breeders’ Cup in the future (meaning if NYRA wants to host the BC, lights will have to be installed at Belmont Park), which could even mean Santa Anita could lose the 2013 Breeders’ Cup unless local officials in Arcadia allow lights to be installed there so NBC would be able to have Breeders’ Cup coverage extend to at least 11:00 PM ET on Saturday (perhaps even moving ALL Saturday BC coverage to NBC) plus have NBC have an hour of Breeders’ Cup coverage on Friday (from 10:00-11:00 PM ET with the rest of Friday on NBC Sports Network).

    Oaklawn Park is another candidate to be the permanent home if it can install lights.  It’s a track that does not race in the fall, but I would think Charles Cella would install a turf course at Oaklawn if it meant he would get the BC on a permanent basis as the crown jewel of perhaps a 10-day fall meet that would not affect the regular meet at all.  It’s a track that certainly is big enough to host the Breeders’ Cup, as it has hosted crowds of 80,000+ in the past for the Arkansas Derby and would have little trouble holding 60,000+ in early November (where the weather would be milder than in the north, but not overly hot like it can be in So. California).  

    • Jakef

      Come on you morons. Oaklawn Park is a nice racetrack but it is in Hot Springs Arkansas! You ever tried to fly to Hot Springs? Imagine the international flights having to land in Little Rock. Little Rock? Can you imagine the flight plan from Paris, London? Dubai? Get real. The cup needs to be in LA or Louisville. Lexington down the road. They all know that trip

      • wallyhorse

        I think people would manage to get to Oaklawn if the Breeders’ Cup is ever held there (contingent of course on Oaklawn adding a turf course).  Oaklawn often gets big live crowds and their live handle vs. simulcast is often for a major track among the lowest difference of any in the sport.  They may not draw quite as big as Keeneland, but they do draw considerable live crowds throughout their season and people would make a point of getting to Hot Springs for an early November Breeders’ Cup.

  • wallyhorse

    If we going to have a permanent home for the Breeders’ Cup, it is likely going to be Churchill Downs.  Aside from the fact the breeders and others are there anyway for the sales the following week, lights are a big reason why Churchill has a big advantage in the way of a permanent home for the Breeders’ Cup.  

    With the bump in ratings from a prime-time Classic in spite of ALL of the weather issues in the east due to Sandy that STILL have many people without power (not to mention the fact the Classic also aired opposite Alabama-LSU on CBS, Oregon-USC on FOX, Oklahoma State-Kansas State on ABC and a NASCAR Nationwide Series race on ESPN), I’m suspecting NBC is going to be insisting on lights at whatever track hosts the Breeders’ Cup in the future (meaning if NYRA wants to host the BC, lights will have to be installed at Belmont Park), which could even mean Santa Anita could lose the 2013 Breeders’ Cup unless local officials in Arcadia allow lights to be installed there so NBC would be able to have Breeders’ Cup coverage extend to at least 11:00 PM ET on Saturday (perhaps even moving ALL Saturday BC coverage to NBC) plus have NBC have an hour of Breeders’ Cup coverage on Friday (from 10:00-11:00 PM ET with the rest of Friday on NBC Sports Network).

    Oaklawn Park is another candidate to be the permanent home if it can install lights.  It’s a track that does not race in the fall, but I would think Charles Cella would install a turf course at Oaklawn if it meant he would get the BC on a permanent basis as the crown jewel of perhaps a 10-day fall meet that would not affect the regular meet at all.  It’s a track that certainly is big enough to host the Breeders’ Cup, as it has hosted crowds of 80,000+ in the past for the Arkansas Derby and would have little trouble holding 60,000+ in early November (where the weather would be milder than in the north, but not overly hot like it can be in So. California).  

  • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

    The Breeders Cup has a Home…They just don’t know YET!!!…& when they do…It will be right there with the Derby/Oaks & the Triple Dipper!!!…U can take that to the BANK!!!…HANK…ty…

  • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

    The Breeders Cup has a Home…They just don’t know YET!!!…& when they do…It will be right there with the Derby/Oaks & the Triple Dipper!!!…U can take that to the BANK!!!…HANK…ty…

  • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

    “I wonder if it should be a BC anymore”???…GMAFB…Please…

  • Dantana

    For those concerned about home court advantage, only Two So. Ca. trainers won a  Breeders Cup race.

    • nu-fan

      Dantana:  By now, isn’t it apparent that there are some with an East Coast bias on horseracing?  Has little to do with logic or rational thought.

    • Lost In The Fog

      Amen for pointing out the absurdity of all the whining about CA horses having an unfair advantage.  That may have been true in 2008 and 2009 when Santa Anita had an artificial surface but it rings hollow in light of the facts as evidenced last weekend on the dirt track.  

  • Dantana

    For those concerned about home court advantage, only Two So. Ca. trainers won a  Breeders Cup race.

  • Terri Bey

    Absolutely NOT. The idea of the Breeder’s Cup was that the event was to go to different tracks every year. Let’s see. Recently, we had CD back to back, and next year, it will be at SA again?  Besides. if it’s a WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, why can’t it go to Japan, Australia, Europe?  Hello?  

  • Terri Bey

    Absolutely NOT. The idea of the Breeder’s Cup was that the event was to go to different tracks every year. Let’s see. Recently, we had CD back to back, and next year, it will be at SA again?  Besides. if it’s a WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, why can’t it go to Japan, Australia, Europe?  Hello?  

  • http://twitter.com/petedenk Pete Denk

    The main track was powerfully inside speed biased. Total handle dropped 10% year-to-year. TV ratings were paltry compared with other pro sports. Only one race shown on free network TV. I don’t get your position at all Ray.

    • wallyhorse

      Pete:

      The BC had to go opposite Alabama-LSU on CBS (which handily won the night with a big rating as I understand it), Oregon-USC on FOX, Oklahoma State-Kansas State on ABC and a NASCAR Nationwide Series race on ESPN.  The event likely got a better number on NBC than what NBC normally airs on Saturday nights (remember, NBC’s ratings are WAY down from where they were the last time they had the Breeders’ Cup in 2005).  I’m suspecting NBC now will insist on lights being installed at Santa Anita for the 2013 BC or that BC be moved to a track with the capability of racing at night.  That is why I think unless NYRA installs lights at Belmont Park OR another track capable of racing at night (or perhaps in the case of a track like Oaklawn Park or Monmouth Park, agrees to install lights and in Oaklawn’s case also a turf course) makes a serious bid, Churchill Downs come 2014 becomes the almost-permanent site for the BC.

    • Lost In The Fog

      Of course the handle dropped 10% which is a victory considering the lingering effects of Hurricane Sandy.  That had absolutely nothing to do with Santa Anita being the venue.  How could it have been any other way?  And what does the “only one race shown on free network TV” have to do with Santa Anita?  Are you suggesting that if the BC were held at a different venue NBC would have shown more races on the main network?

  • http://twitter.com/petedenk Pete Denk

    The main track was powerfully inside speed biased. Total handle dropped 10% year-to-year. TV ratings were paltry compared with other pro sports. Only one race shown on free network TV. I don’t get your position at all Ray.

  • Tinky

    The Euros generally do well everywhere they go, because they are generally superior to their American counterparts.

    The points that you continue to miss is that they are at a greater disadvantage in CA, and that running the BC turf races on hard ground year after year is unfair to any horses that prefer give in ground.

    You are also wrong about neutrality. Neither very soft, nor very hard ground are remotely neutral. 

  • h.schmelz

    costs are crucial if you come from europe. air fare, quarantaine, accomodation logistics etc. can add up to more than 100,000 if you come as a party. add the climate change from european autumn to whatever late summer in california. you either need a topclass horse at the top of his game on this particular surface, or enough chips to risk them for fun. coolmore do it on terms we don`t know (monmouth) and for marketing purposes, godolphin maybe as well. the rest is mostly scared off. if you want and claim world championships, santa anita is not the venue of choice. 

  • h.schmelz

    costs are crucial if you come from europe. air fare, quarantaine, accomodation logistics etc. can add up to more than 100,000 if you come as a party. add the climate change from european autumn to whatever late summer in california. you either need a topclass horse at the top of his game on this particular surface, or enough chips to risk them for fun. coolmore do it on terms we don`t know (monmouth) and for marketing purposes, godolphin maybe as well. the rest is mostly scared off. if you want and claim world championships, santa anita is not the venue of choice. 

  • nu-fan

    Dantana:  By now, isn’t it apparent that there are some with an East Coast bias on horseracing?  Has little to do with logic or rational thought.

  • wallyhorse

    Pete:

    The BC had to go opposite Alabama-LSU on CBS (which handily won the night with a big rating as I understand it), Oregon-USC on FOX, Oklahoma State-Kansas State on ABC and a NASCAR Nationwide Series race on ESPN.  The event likely got a better number on NBC than what NBC normally airs on Saturday nights (remember, NBC’s ratings are WAY down from where they were the last time they had the Breeders’ Cup in 2005).  I’m suspecting NBC now will insist on lights being installed at Santa Anita for the 2013 BC or that BC be moved to a track with the capability of racing at night.  That is why I think unless NYRA installs lights at Belmont Park OR another track capable of racing at night (or perhaps in the case of a track like Oaklawn Park or Monmouth Park, agrees to install lights and in Oaklawn’s case also a turf course) makes a serious bid, Churchill Downs come 2014 becomes the almost-permanent site for the BC.

  • Dan

    To the author: Ray, have to just give you a tip of the hat for having the cajones to post this article. i happen to agree with you 100% but ive been crucified anytime i post somthing to this effect on any horse racing site. i ve also enjoyed all of the comments both for and against our stance in this. for the most part a lot of people make excellent points/counterpoints(obviously some major exeptions of a few ppl). anyway…well done and way to put out your opinion despite the backlash you knew you would recieve.

  • Dan

    To the author: Ray, have to just give you a tip of the hat for having the cajones to post this article. i happen to agree with you 100% but ive been crucified anytime i post somthing to this effect on any horse racing site. i ve also enjoyed all of the comments both for and against our stance in this. for the most part a lot of people make excellent points/counterpoints(obviously some major exeptions of a few ppl). anyway…well done and way to put out your opinion despite the backlash you knew you would recieve.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/MyBig-Red/100000980578079 MyBig Red

    I LOVE Hialeah as well. Perhaps it is because that is where I grew up and spent my days off, enjoying the Beautiful landscaped track & the Flamingos. The weather is perfect & so many of the Great Horses, Trainers, Owners and Jockeys have raced and trained there since the track was built many years ago. Even Secretariat spent the winter months training there!! 

  • Lost In The Fog

    I disagree with your premise.  Ticket prices for NFL games generally range from $70 – 400.  Luxury boxes (the 10% you mention) are even higher.  Good grandstand seats for Saturday at the BC were available for less than $200.  Additionally, general admission seats were only $20 ($15 if you bought them online and printed at home.)  Nobody gets into an NFL game for $15!  

    I think the  BC did an outstanding job of accommodating the “average fan” by making an unlimited number of general admission tickets available for essentially the same price one would pay to go to a movie.  What other top-tier sports event does that?  Answer: none.

  • Barbara

    No, Tinky. You fail to comprehend that you are just flat out wrong based on actual results. There is no “perfect” or “neutral” turf course and weather has a lot to say in most venues outside CA. But we can agree that the superior animal most often overcomes all and wins.

  • Francis Bush

    Ray, the fields would need to be limited to 8 horses. The records show that horses outside 8 at Santa Anita stand little chance of winning. What owner wants to have his horse in a race just to see it run when others inside post 8 have a chance to collect big bucks.

    • Ace

       Good idea.  Gut the handle to accommodate your harebrained scheme

  • Francis Bush

    Ray, the fields would need to be limited to 8 horses. The records show that horses outside 8 at Santa Anita stand little chance of winning. What owner wants to have his horse in a race just to see it run when others inside post 8 have a chance to collect big bucks.

  • Ace

     Your lack of knowledge regarding racetrack conditions is astounding.  By definition, a sealed track is packed to prevent moisture from undermining it.  By definition, a sealed track is souped up.

  • Ace

     That’s good, except Hialeah isn’t a thoroughbred race track.  So eff em

  • Ace

     in his mind with the other races

  • Ace

     Just lend him the $5 million dollars and we are good to go.

  • Ace

     Good comparison, soccer to horse racing….what?

  • Ace

     Good idea.  Gut the handle to accommodate your harebrained scheme

  • Lost In The Fog

    Check your facts.  Despite the issues related to Hurricane Sandy the NBC ratings for the BC Classic were up.

  • Matthew Martini

    The nice thing about Churchill having the races was that it was easy for common folks like myself to see the horses in the walking ring before the race. At Santa Anita last weekend, with various areas roped off or restricted, I felt like I was surrounded by TSA checkpoints without a boarding pass.

    But I don’t mind if the the BC is run at Santa Anita every few years, or even on a near-permanent basis. It is a great place to watch a race, and I felt that overall it was a great experience.

  • Matthew Martini

    The nice thing about Churchill having the races was that it was easy for common folks like myself to see the horses in the walking ring before the race. At Santa Anita last weekend, with various areas roped off or restricted, I felt like I was surrounded by TSA checkpoints.

    But I don’t mind if the the BC is run at Santa Anita every few years, or even on a near-permanent basis. It is a great place to watch a race, and I felt that overall it was a great experience.

  • Lost In The Fog

    Of course the handle dropped 10% which is a victory considering the lingering effects of Hurricane Sandy.  That had absolutely nothing to do with Santa Anita being the venue.  How could it have been any other way?  And what does the “only one race shown on free network TV” have to do with Santa Anita?  Are you suggesting that if the BC were held at a different venue NBC would have shown more races on the main network?

  • Jakef

    Come on you morons. Oaklawn Park is a nice racetrack but it is in Hot Springs Arkansas! You ever tried to fly to Hot Springs? Imagine the international flights having to land in Little Rock. Little Rock? Can you imagine the flight plan from Paris, London? Dubai? Get real. The cup needs to be in LA or Louisville. Lexington down the road. They all know that trip

  • Lost In The Fog

    Amen for pointing out the absurdity of all the whining about CA horses having an unfair advantage.  That may have been true in 2008 and 2009 when Santa Anita had an artificial surface but it rings hollow in light of the facts as evidenced last weekend on the dirt track.  

  • Lost In The Fog

    Well for starters there’s the fact that Belmont didn’t even make a bid to host the event. 

  • Tinky

    Try talking to any horseman, Barbara. In European terms, anything from good to firm to good to soft is considered neutral. In other words, there are no excuses for good horses being unable to handle those surfaces.

    If you can’t understand the difference between that middle ground and the extremes, then I’m afraid I can’t help you.

  • Barbara

    I’m positive you can’t help me. I guess all the help I need here comes from Goldikova, Spinning World, Conduit, Six Perfections, Islington, Midday, Donativum, Pounced, and High Chaparral (he won the year before in 2002 at Arlington Park, too.) There is no “horseman” who calls a course that ranges from firm to soft “Neutral” because there is no horseman that isn’t looking to spot his horse where that particular horse belongs. 

  • wallyhorse

    I think people would manage to get to Oaklawn if the Breeders’ Cup is ever held there (contingent of course on Oaklawn adding a turf course).  Oaklawn often gets big live crowds and their live handle vs. simulcast is often for a major track among the lowest difference of any in the sport.  They may not draw quite as big as Keeneland, but they do draw considerable live crowds throughout their season and people would make a point of getting to Hot Springs for an early November Breeders’ Cup.

  • Battlerbill

    A permanent site for the Breeders Cup is a huge mistake. 

  • Battlerbill

    A permanent site for the Breeders Cup is a huge mistake. 

  • Tinky

    Your understanding of European racing, and the mindsets of European trainers, is virtually non-existant.

  • yep

    Build a track in Las Vegas and have it there.

  • yep

    Build a track in Las Vegas and have it there.

  • nu-fan

    Just came across, this morning, from The Sacramento Bee, the figures from this year’s Breeders’ Cup. 1) “Over two days, almost 90,000 fans turned out to see the Cup.”  2)  “The first prime-time elecast of Saturday’s $5 million Classic….drew a 2.2 overnight Nielsen rating, almost double last year’s 1.2.”  3) “Fans bet more than $144 million on Cup weekend.”  Looking, specifically, at the Nielsen ratings, I am very impressed.  It will be interesting to see what those, who interpret these ratings, attribute this very substantial increase in viewership, but could it be because it was held at Santa Anita with its great weather and the glamour that this region can provide?  Perhaps, the decision on where this race should be held will be best decided by those who look at the fans (especially the new, younger ones) rather than where those in the horseracing industry wish it could held.  Like any business model, isn’t the first consideration always “the customer”?

    • NAFTA

      No, it was because it was on NBC.

      • nu-fan

        NAFTA:  Would NBC have covered it if it was held somewhere else?  Maybe, not.

        • NAFTA

          Yes, they would.

          • nu-fan

            First, of all, I do not know any reason why I should believe that you have first hand knowledge about what NBC would/would not have done.  Show me your credentials.  Second, totally irrelevant, actually, to the whole discussion about NBC coverage.  Unless fans do not know how to use their remote, they could have easily watched the Breeders’ Cup 2011 on another network.  So, the increase this year has more to do with just NBC carrying it. 

          • NAFTA

            It’s called a contract.  They are contracted to show the Breeders’ Cup regardless of the location.

  • nu-fan

    Just came across, this morning, from The Sacramento Bee, the figures from this year’s Breeders’ Cup. 1) “Over two days, almost 90,000 fans turned out to see the Cup.”  2)  “The first prime-time elecast of Saturday’s $5 million Classic….drew a 2.2 overnight Nielsen rating, almost double last year’s 1.2.”  3) “Fans bet more than $144 million on Cup weekend.”  Looking, specifically, at the Nielsen ratings, I am very impressed.  It will be interesting to see what those, who interpret these ratings, attribute this very substantial increase in viewership, but could it be because it was held at Santa Anita with its great weather and the glamour that this region can provide?  Perhaps, the decision on where this race should be held will be best decided by those who look at the fans (especially the new, younger ones) rather than where those in the horseracing industry wish it could held.  Like any business model, isn’t the first consideration always “the customer”?

  • NAFTA

    I fail to see how having the event at any single location allows the event to “grow”, as has often been cited.  The only thing that does is potentially reduce overhead costs from year to year and make planning a little easier.  Again, a benefit only for the BC and probably not substantial all things considered.  Don’t give me any of this about making it easier to market the event.

    You cannot possibly argue that the event should be permanently located in California from a customer/fan perspective, nor from a racing/horsemen perspective.  Therefore, all you are left with is (1) weather; and (2) that it is better long term for the BC’s bottom line (which is a highly dubious argument in the face of the performance of Churchill Downs), depending on the deal points they get from Stronach Group.

    If you are in the camp that weather is the single most important factor to consider, and that the on-track and sponsor experience is paramount, then fine, that’s your opinion.  It is not necessarily the right opinion.  From a business perspective for the event itself (largely a simulcast product), weather it is overrated and mostly inconsequential (I said mostly–yes, there will be the occasional Monmouth).  

    In my mind, reducing a bit of overhead and making it a bit easier for BC officials to administer the event should never come before the interests of the customers and horsemen.  The fairest thing to everyone is to rotate it among KY, CA and NY and throw in a wild card every so often when it as deemed appropriate.

    • nu-fan

      I might go to Kentucky once (maybe, twice) for the Kentucky Derby.  But, after that, what else is there to do there?  For most fans, they’d go to the Derby because that is what Kentucky is known for, but there has to be more than looking at the farms and the museum.  You’ve seen it once, then, why go back?  For die-hard fans, sure, they’ll go year in and year out.  But, how many of them are there currently?  Less and less.  Maybe, that is because those immersed in thoroughbred racing can’t see the forest for the trees.  Let’s face it.  Who has been making the decisions all along?  The same ones who continue to allow this sport to decline.

      • NAFTA

        The vast majority of people that travel to an event like the BC are not doing so to hang out on Sunset Blvd.  They are doing so to go to the races, and then go home.  Not sure what you are saying here.

        • nu-fan

          NAFTA:  It is obvious that you are very knowledgeable about horseracing but may be very limited in your views about what fans are interested in.  The majority of them do not live and die horseracing.  If they are traveling–and spending money for airfare, lodging and meals–they probably want the most bang for their buck.  Again, the die-hard fans (the ones who are dying out) will just go to the races but the majority want more for their money.  They want a vacation to go with it and that includes great weather and a multitude of choices of where to go after the races.  But, for those in the local area, one also needs to be looking at the population numbers and their demographics.  The LA area encompasses a huge geographic area and, with that, their numbers are huge.  So, is their discretionary dollars.  So, with these two groups of fans (local and those traveling from elsewhere), the So Cal area makes for a great destination.  And, to suggest that LA is just Sunset Blvd is….

  • NAFTA

    I fail to see how having the event at any single location allows the event to “grow”, as has often been cited.  The only thing that does is potentially reduce overhead costs from year to year and make planning a little easier.  Again, a benefit only for the BC and probably not substantial all things considered.  Don’t give me any of this about making it easier to market the event.

    You cannot possibly argue that the event should be permanently located in California from a customer/fan perspective, nor from a racing/horsemen perspective.  Therefore, all you are left with is (1) weather; and (2) that it is better long term for the BC’s bottom line (which is a highly dubious argument in the face of the performance of Churchill Downs), depending on the deal points they get from Stronach Group.

    If you are in the camp that weather is the single most important factor to consider, and that the on-track and sponsor experience is paramount, then fine, that’s your opinion.  It is not necessarily the right opinion.  From a business perspective for the event itself (largely a simulcast product), weather it is overrated and mostly inconsequential (I said mostly–yes, there will be the occasional Monmouth).  

    In my mind, reducing a bit of overhead and making it a bit easier for BC officials to administer the event should never come before the interests of the customers and horsemen.  The fairest thing to everyone is to rotate it among KY, CA and NY and throw in a wild card every so often when it as deemed appropriate.

  • NAFTA

    No, it was because it was on NBC.

  • nu-fan

    NAFTA:  Would NBC have covered it if it was held somewhere else?  Maybe, not.

  • Barbara

    Your lack of comprehension of reality or facts is exceeded only by your pretensions of authority. Are we done yet?

  • nu-fan

    I might go to Kentucky once (maybe, twice) for the Kentucky Derby.  But, after that, what else is there to do there?  For most fans, they’d go to the Derby because that is what Kentucky is known for, but there has to be more than looking at the farms and the museum.  You’ve seen it once, then, why go back?  For die-hard fans, sure, they’ll go year in and year out.  But, how many of them are there currently?  Less and less.  Maybe, that is because those immersed in thoroughbred racing can’t see the forest for the trees.  Let’s face it.  Who has been making the decisions all along?  The same ones who continue to allow this sport to decline.

  • NAFTA

    The vast majority of people that travel to an event like the BC are not doing so to hang out on Sunset Blvd.  They are doing so to go to the races, and then go home.  Not sure what you are saying here.

  • NAFTA

    Yes, they would.

  • nu-fan

    NAFTA:  It is obvious that you are very knowledgeable about horseracing but may be very limited in your views about what fans are interested in.  The majority of them do not live and die horseracing.  If they are traveling–and spending money for airfare, lodging and meals–they probably want the most bang for their buck.  Again, the die-hard fans (the ones who are dying out) will just go to the races but the majority want more for their money.  They want a vacation to go with it and that includes great weather and a multitude of choices of where to go after the races.  But, for those in the local area, one also needs to be looking at the population numbers and their demographics.  The LA area encompasses a huge geographic area and, with that, their numbers are huge.  So, is their discretionary dollars.  So, with these two groups of fans (local and those traveling from elsewhere), the So Cal area makes for a great destination.  And, to suggest that LA is just Sunset Blvd is….

  • nu-fan

    First, of all, I do not know any reason why I should believe that you have first hand knowledge about what NBC would/would not have done.  Show me your credentials.  Second, totally irrelevant, actually, to the whole discussion about NBC coverage.  Unless fans do not know how to use their remote, they could have easily watched the Breeders’ Cup 2011 on another network.  So, the increase this year has more to do with just NBC carrying it. 

  • NAFTA

    It’s called a contract.  They are contracted to show the Breeders’ Cup regardless of the location.

  • NAFTA

    Spot on.

  • Nucky Thompson

    Hey Ray, rumor going around South Florida is that Frank Stronach wants Gulfstream Park to host Breeders Cup in either 2014 or 2015 and plans to renovate the facility to make this possible .

    • Kris

      Nucky,
      There is a story in this week’s Bloodhorse about Gulfstream expansion plans and a bid for the BC.  I’m sure it’s also on their website.  Cheers!

  • Nucky Thompson

    Hey Ray, rumor going around South Florida is that Frank Stronach wants Gulfstream Park to host Breeders Cup in either 2014 or 2015 and plans to renovate the facility to make this possible .

  • Kris

    It all comes down to economics, people.  A few years ago Satish Sanaan mentioned how difficult it is for the BC to make money at Churchill because of the hard bargain CDI negotiates.  If that still applies then it doesn’t matter how many more people show up at Churchill, or how much more money is wagered; the BC needs to make money.  So, every other issue aside, if the BC makes more money at Santa Anita than they do at Churchill, then sunny California should be the new permanent home.  My two cents.

  • Kris

    It all comes down to economics, people.  A few years ago Satish Sanaan mentioned how difficult it is for the BC to make money at Churchill because of the hard bargain CDI negotiates.  If that still applies then it doesn’t matter how many more people show up at Churchill, or how much more money is wagered; the BC needs to make money.  So, every other issue aside, if the BC makes more money at Santa Anita than they do at Churchill, then sunny California should be the new permanent home.  My two cents.

  • Buddy29

    Santa Anita and Keeneland would be my vote.

  • Guest

    Santa Anita and Keeneland would be my vote.

  • JOMAMA

    First of all Hadrianmarcus is correct that the East v West bitchfest is destructive for horse racing. Second, no matter how great Mr. Gaines idea was and it was certainly just that great, if our beloved sport stays the same, and yes even if Mr. Gaines’ idea was to have a traveling showcase, we will see the Breeders Cup go in the same direction that much of horse racing has gone in the 30 years since it’s inception. Third, we have tried the moving around and much of it has been what I would call a diasaster. (Churchill was cold and dreary, Monmouth was the biggest flop, where some fans seats that they paid handsomely for, didn’t even have cover to get out of the rain.It was not great for the horse chances either, because of the weather, Woodbine was cold and miserable) One does not have to look very far to see that it is good to have a dirt track with very predictable good weather to showcase our great event. While I believe that there was a speed bias, maybe not to the extent that some of the non winners would like to have made it out to be, I think there has got to be something that Santa Anita should be able to do to make the race track more fair for all horses to show their best. But one thing they don’t have to fix is the weather and the availability of accomadations and the ease of getting in and out of several airports avaiable to guests. My last thought, and the easterners might want to consider this, is that from what I have heard, Belmont hasn’t even put in a bid for the Breeders Cup lately. If some of the horseplayers watch the Super Bowl that is coming up soon from New York in the middle of winter and wonder if both teams will have a good chance of showing their best or even if the best team wins, given the weather they will have to play in. In closing I would ask baseball fans, how many of you like seeing the most important games of the year, played in 39 degree weather, with snow flying, just because of greedy owners that want more and more money. Let’s learn something from the other sports that are prospering and help save our sport and give it the best chance to grow.

  • JOMAMA

    First of all Hadrianmarcus is correct that the East v West bitchfest is destructive for horse racing. Second, no matter how great Mr. Gaines idea was and it was certainly just that great, if our beloved sport stays the same, and yes even if Mr. Gaines’ idea was to have a traveling showcase, we will see the Breeders Cup go in the same direction that much of horse racing has gone in the 30 years since it’s inception. Third, we have tried the moving around and much of it has been what I would call a diasaster. (Churchill was cold and dreary, Monmouth was the biggest flop, where some fans seats that they paid handsomely for, didn’t even have cover to get out of the rain.It was not great for the horse chances either, because of the weather, Woodbine was cold and miserable) One does not have to look very far to see that it is good to have a dirt track with very predictable good weather to showcase our great event. While I believe that there was a speed bias, maybe not to the extent that some of the non winners would like to have made it out to be, I think there has got to be something that Santa Anita should be able to do to make the race track more fair for all horses to show their best. But one thing they don’t have to fix is the weather and the availability of accomadations and the ease of getting in and out of several airports avaiable to guests. My last thought, and the easterners might want to consider this, is that from what I have heard, Belmont hasn’t even put in a bid for the Breeders Cup lately. If some of the horseplayers watch the Super Bowl that is coming up soon from New York in the middle of winter and wonder if both teams will have a good chance of showing their best or even if the best team wins, given the weather they will have to play in. In closing I would ask baseball fans, how many of you like seeing the most important games of the year, played in 39 degree weather, with snow flying, just because of greedy owners that want more and more money. Let’s learn something from the other sports that are prospering and help save our sport and give it the best chance to grow.

  • Kris

    Nucky,
    There is a story in this week’s Bloodhorse about Gulfstream expansion plans and a bid for the BC.  I’m sure it’s also on their website.  Cheers!

Twitter