The following feature was originally published in the Paulick Report Special, our print edition distributed at major Thoroughbred auctions
Now that the two-day Breeders' Cup championships have been run for six years, do you think they are a success over the previous one-day event?
Mark Popham, Racenews: It's stretched out and doesn't get such good fields. That Juvenile Sprint (Friday) was a bit of a joke, wasn't it? It's difficult to tell. Unless they scrap the races that don't work and put some new ones in. To keep some of it the way it is at the moment probably doesn't work terribly well. I always remember one big day, fantastic racing, everybody was buzzed up. This is a slow introduction to those big races. From a purist point of view, when you go from seven races to 15 that they have now, there is a dilution. Obviously we loved coming here when Santa Anita had Pro-Ride (synthetic track) because we had a very real chance to win the Classic.
John McCririck, British racing commentator: It's the same thing that's happening all around the world. In Britain, York, Cheltenham, and Royal Ascot have been extended. Of course it dilutes. You're lucky to have the turf and the dirt here – that awful dirt that you changed out from synthetic. So you've got some variety of surfaces. But I'm all for it. The public likes to come, many of them wouldn't know if a horse is a claimer or a champion by looking at it. If it's good for the public, I'm for the change.
Joe Drape, New York Times: I think it works. It works two ways. It brings in a horseplaying crowd, people who want to see good betting races every 30 minutes. And the fields are big, with good betting opportunities. And I also think they kind of made it a spectacle in itself, a championship day, it's very professionally run. The focus is on horse racing. Especially out here in California, it really works. The sports market isn't as crowded. They aren't competing with an NFL team on Sundays, they don't have a big Triple Crown races the Breeders' Cup would have to take a back seat to. It's a beautiful place, and they have done a good job of building it into an event. And where else do you hear every winner, every horse cheered robustly. It's a very knowledgeable and appreciative horse crowd.
Graham Cunningham, freelance writer and broadcaster in England with Racing UK, TVG, Timeform radio: It's impossible to argue against the dollar. You can't argue against finances in any business: you just don't. We can't tell a business what to do to make money and be successful. But if you're a purist, you would prefer a colossal championship day of maybe 10 races. But you just can't argue with the money, you just can't. The purists may not like it, but you can't be a purist in business. Overall, the Breeders' Cup weekend has developed into a slow burner, but it's burning at the end, and that's the main thing. To address your question, you really need to have the numbers to help answer whether it's been a good idea.
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