View From The Eighth Pole: A Breeders’ Cup Derby?

by | 01.23.2018 | 2:24pm
Inaugurated in 1984, the Breeders' Cup has undergone several changes over the years and now consists of 13 races over two days with $28 million in purse money and awards

Should the Breeders' Cup expand again?

That's a question the organization's board of directors is expected to ponder at an upcoming meeting, when a proposal to add a “Breeders' Cup Derby” for 3-year-olds and push the Breeders' Cup Classic to a separate date in December will be discussed. Craig Fravel, Breeders' Cup president and CEO, declined to comment on what he called “matters that may or may not be considered by the board of the Breeders' Cup.”

Before examining the proposal, a quick timeline:

The Breeders' Cup was inaugurated in 1984 with a seven-race, $10-million program at Hollywood Park. An eighth championship race, the Filly & Mare Turf, was added in 1999, when the Breeders' Cup was held at Gulfstream Park.

The first two-day Breeders' Cup, hosted by Monmouth Park in 2007, included three new races: the Juvenile Turf, Filly & Mare Sprint and Dirt Mile. The following year, when the Cup moved to Santa Anita Park, three more races were added – the Marathon, Juvenile Fillies Turf and Turf Sprint – bringing the total to 14. In 2011 at Churchill Downs, officials added a 15th race – the Juvenile Sprint, which lasted only two years. Its removal reduced the number to 14 Breeders' Cup races when the event was held in 2013 at Santa Anita. The Marathon lost its Breeders' Cup designation the following year at Santa Anita, and from 2014-'17 championship weekend consisted of 13 Breeders' Cup races. Purses and awards now total $28 million.

The push by some industry stakeholders for a “Breeders' Cup Derby” might be a case of Triple Crown envy, based on ever-growing interest – as measured by attendance, wagering and television ratings – for the Kentucky Derby. That interest increases when a horse also wins the Preakness and enters the Belmont with a chance to sweep the Triple Crown – something that captures the attention of non-racing fans in the general public. Since its inception, Breeders' Cup has struggled to attract that non-racing fan.

Can the general public's interest in horse racing on the first Saturday in May (and in Triple Crown attempt years, a Saturday in June five weeks later) be carried over into November and December?

That's what Breeders' Cup officials are grappling with, along with questions about the feasibility of a race restricted to 3-year-olds so late in the year. They retained a consulting firm to interview trainers and racing officials to see what they thought of adding a Derby to Breeders' Cup championship weekend and moving the Classic to a date in December.

Among the questions asked, according to a trainer who was interviewed by the consulting firm and spoke to the Paulick Report: Would a trainer with a top 3-year-old prefer to run against other 3-year-olds on Breeders' Cup day rather than go against older runners in the Classic? (Spoiler alert: Of course they would. It would be an easier race to win.)

Next question: Would that trainer run in both a “Derby” on Breeders' Cup weekend and the Breeders' Cup Classic against older runners in a standalone event in December? This event presumably would be held after the regular college football season is over and before the NFL begins its Saturday telecasts, giving the Classic a more favorable television window than it currently has.

A trainer's answer to that question is far more complicated, since horses aren't machines. Currently, the Breeders' Cup represents the end of a demanding year for top 3-year-olds that may have contested the Triple Crown, and we have seen the trend of fewer starts and more time between races for these horses. Will an extra race on the calendar help reverse that trend? Doubtful.

The premise that the non-racing public will show more interest in Breeders' Cup weekend because it has a race designed to attract Triple Crown horses competing against each other seems questionable, at best. If that were the case, wouldn't races like the Haskell, Travers and Pennsylvania Derby – all Grade 1 events with big purses during the summer – have greater brand recognition outside of core racing fans?

For the horseplayer, my assumption is that a Derby on Breeders' Cup weekend would be less attractive as a betting race than the current Classic pitting the best 3-year-olds against the best older horses. It would almost certainly have a negative impact on field size and quality for the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, which in 2017 had 10 runners, including a trio of 3-year-olds led by the race winner, Battle of Midway.

All of that could make the existing Breeders' Cup weekend less attractive and less profitable. And if the 3-year-olds who contest the proposed Derby don't come back in the Classic in December, what does it do to that race?

Another issue to consider: Are racing fans and the core supporters of a two-day Breeders' Cup in late October/early November going to show the same enthusiasm and commitment if the Classic is moved to December?

That's a question I can't answer with any degree of certainty, but I would think for many who annually spend thousands of dollars to travel to the Breeders' Cup, a split Breeders' Cup would become an either/or event – not both.

Many things in horse racing may be broken, but the Breeders' Cup Classic isn't one of them. It is the crescendo for two spectacular days of racing, a chance to see the best 3-year-olds against the best older horses at the classic American distance.

That's my view from the eighth pole.

  • Dave

    No! I don’t like it one bit.

  • missedgehead

    No way . No how. What kind of nonsense is this?

  • Kincsem

    Wow. That might just be the best idea since the dirt mile…

    • Erin Casseday

      Some of us happen to like the Dirt Mile. Fits right in with the Met Mile and a few other mile races…

  • Cgriff

    Someone needs to get the Breeder’s Cup board of directors some busy work to occupy them before they take a fairly good thing and screw it completely up. Crayons and coloring pages – STAT!

    • Concerned Observer

      What is the chance this bunch of over paid and ego driven insider smooozer folks would actually ask a stupid question like…..what do we need to do to get the 200 million people in the American betting public interested in horse racing again? instead of lotteries, slots and sports ….Daaaaaaa. The KY Derby has not done it…so why would a second November Derby do it?

      Oh I forgot…we are like Sears….building upon our 1960″s success….no need to think.

    • Elle D

      Seriously. Perhaps some volunteer work.

    • lastromntribune

      OMG yes……..where do these people come up with such nonsense

  • FourWide

    Breeders Cup, Inc should work on fixing what is broken like their BCBC tournament and not worry about fixing what works like the Classic.

  • the prime minister

    This is the most stupid idea yet..

  • If it ain’t doggone broke, don’t fiddle with it.

  • Mary Pitt

    That’s it. The Breeders’ Cup has officially jumped the shark.

  • Jay Hovdey

    “The push by some industry stakeholders…”
    Names please. They need a hug.

  • Lost In The Fog – Robert Lee

    An astonishingly bad idea.

  • The Local Seth

    Wtf

  • Tom Furlong

    Terrible idea, I love my annual trip to the BC. Why do they want to take the most exciting race out of it.

  • Bill B.

    What a terrible idea. It needs to be shorter. It has never been as exciting as when it was a one day 8 race event.

    • riverhorse

      Breeders Cup could actually add more missing categories to total maybe 20, but switch to Sat/Sun…
      OR, spread out to Fri/Sat/Sun.

      • Christy Dolan

        The Breeders Cup should seriously be very careful with the amount of Group 1 races that it offers and the length of days it goes on for. They need to look at one of the most successful racing festivals in Europe, the Cheltenham Festival. Yes, that is National Hunt Racing, yes, National Hunt Racing is mostly confined to Britain and Ireland, but, unlike flat racing, when Cheltenham is on, the whole of Britain and Ireland, especially Ireland knows it is one! The point here is that over the years they added more races in more categories ie distances and novice races. This extended the week, This means more tv audience , millions more bettering , hundreds of thousand attending (exactly what Breeders Cup would aim and want) But it seriously dilluted the quality of the Championship races (Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Chase, Stayers Hurdle) because horses that ought to be in the bigger races, chicken out and run in the easier Group 1. It dilutes Quality. Breeders Cup need to maintain is badge of quality . 2 Days is more than enough racing , especially with the amount of Stakes races held. There ain’t that much distractions at the end of October with other sports (yes, NBA is kicking off but ye have over 6 months of that ) Perhaps concentrate on convincing the Aussies, Japanese and maybe the Hong Kong horses to come for the US? Tricky as they have major races on at the same time

  • mondatta

    Unlike most, I’m for new and innovative ideas. But this is a horrible horrible idea. It’s so bad that I can’t believe it is up for discussion. The idea is so bad that I hope I forget it and never think about it again.

  • Kyle Stasierowski

    I DON’T like it!!! I think the Breeders’ Cup should be left as is!!! 🏇😄

  • StrideBig

    Someone please send this article to all of the members of the Breeders Cup Board.

    I certainly hope they don’t ruin the wonderful series that is The Breeders Cup by splitting up the dates or by adding a ridiculous late year 3yr old restricted race. The points made in this article lay out many reasons that would make the change a terrible decision. But one that it didn’t list is the impact it would have on the Eclipse HOY award as well. ~K

  • Craig

    They are completely backwards on this. They need to go back and downsize the event. The Friday so called Breeders Cup is a joke with terrible fields and quite frankly it’s just a lousy race card. I don’t understand why they can’t just make a race card with 10 Breeders Cup Races and no added stakes races on the card. They would also need to redesign some of these races because two year olds shouldn’t be running in my opinion. I think it hurts them in development plus with today’s game once a high end stable gets that grade one they have a tendency to race their horses less which hurts us as the racing fan. I can think of 5 solid turf races and 5 solid dirt races I could write without any two year olds in them. Rotate from dirt to turf each race and make it a true spectical with real turf horses from Across the globe entering. They also need to race the purse of some of these races with the minimum being at least 3 million. This will get the best horses from alll over the world to participate. You do this you will see the handle go through the roof because you will have money coming in from everywhere and not just the US.

    • StrideBig

      They probably can’t get that much “prime time” airspace all in one day.

      I also like that it is split into two days. It doesn’t keep me tied to my television set for such an extended period of time. But I’ll watch it regardless. Lol ~K

      • Judoon

        I love that it’s two days. More racing is a good thing!

        • americanfor

          There is to much racing for two year olds. We are breaking down a lot of potential champions for greed. Start increasing purses for 4 and 5 year olds. It won’t happen because of breeding rights, but it is the best thing for horses and ultimately for the racing public. Breeders will always be against it because it will impact their lust for money for a couple years.

    • TRUTH SPEAKER

      The breeders cup will never ever again draw the best turf horses from around the world. It’s no longer 1992. None of the connections of best turf horses from around the world in the past 20 years have even bothered to consider it because it’s no longer a top tier event. Not Frankel, Sea the stars, Harbinger, Canford cliffs, Dawn approach,Australia, Winx, Camelot, Black Caviar, Deep Impact, Yeats…I can go on.

      • Rebekah Lane

        Oh, for the days when a Goldikova or Highland Reel would run in the BC. Seriously, British racing since 2011 has had its own year-end championships in the QIPCO British Champions Day. The BC also competes with the the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup in Australia, as well as the Japan Cup. If owners can make equivalent money and glory at home, without subjecting their horses to travel and its attendant issues, why would they come here? The BC has lost its international luster for the most part, and tinkering with the dirt Classic won’t return it.

        • Christy Dolan

          If Highland Reel was capable of consistently winning the Premier 10 and 12 furlong races in Europe, he would not have been travelling around the world as often as he did. Of course, he needed good to firm ground so that hurt him in Europe. In fact he would have been retired at 4 at the latest .

          Goldikova actually didn’t always have it her own way in Europe because of horses like Canford Cliffs and Frankel. In fact, she clearly dodged Frankel and a re match with Canford Cliffs at the Sussex Stakes in 2012.Still, multiple Breeders Cup Mile wins can not be sniffed at .

          QIPCO British Champions Day, it is rubbish though ! Its an afterthought for 10-12 furlong horses who campaign for the Arc or want to try their luck at the Breeders Cup . It is held in the middle of October where it is likely to be soft ground . Never ceases to amaze me, that for once, the Irish authorities caught the British napping when their Champions Weekend not only outshines the British Champions Day but also the St Leger weekend.

          “he BC also competes with the the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup in Australia”

          No it does not. Yes, it is held at the same time, but bar the stayers race, NONE of the European horses will realistically have bothered to even consider either the Cox Plate or Melbourne Cup. As for the latter race, there is a reason why you will see the best of Europe’s stayers at the Long Distance race rather than Melbourne. The reason? They would have been given a ridiculously high weight making it pointless to travel that far. Remember, Hartnell was rated 2 lbs higher in the official ratings than Order of St George in the last TWO editions. Yet, in September of each year, Order of St George was given half a kilo more, and Hartnell is European bred so , the North Hemisphere weight penalty is a moot point.

          You will say, oh, but Adelaide and Highland Reel ran in the Cox Plate in 2014 and 2015. Well, if either of them horses had ran well or won the French Arc Trail (Adelaide) or the Irish Champion Stakes, you can be absolutely sure that the next time they stepped on a plane it would have been for Paris and not Melbourne

          It is a simple case that European racing has got some of its act together and made it important to campaign in Europe and make it financially worth while. There is actually more Group 1s in Europe now compared to 1992.

          Moreover, the Americans no longer posses the best turf stallions anymore. Europeans are able to make billions by selling between themselves . That won’t stop Coolmore and chums heading onto the Keeneland Sales and making noise of course . The likes of Coolmore will still want success in the US and that is obvious with the support they give to the Arlington Millions weekend and to the turf races during the Belmont Stakes meeting

          • Rebekah Lane

            Exactly, but I don’t like to talk down a horse that has more stamps on his passport than I do!

      • Christy Dolan

        Coolmore are the exception.

      • Pat Bateman

        11 of the last 20 Cartier Horse of the Year winners ran in a Breeders Cup Event

    • Decimus_D

      What race am I missing? You’re not considering the dirt mile a mainstay are you? That’s the race I have by far the biggest problem with. When it makes both worst worse unless its run around one turn. Even then its probably going to steal talent. My list would look something like this: turf sprint
      f/m turf sprint
      dirt sprint
      f/m dirt sprint
      t Mile
      Classic
      Distaff
      t Classic
      d Marathon

      • Judoon

        I would not have separate sprints for females.

        • Decimus_D

          I could agree with that. It puts the fillies in with the boys, which I always enjoy.

      • Christy Dolan

        Well said, take at look at the Cheltenham festival in the UK. Too many races , hurts the Championship races like the Queen Mother Chase and Cheltenham Gold Cup because of other lesser races at different distances

    • Christy Dolan

      No amount of money is going to get horses from around the world running , simply because of the purse!

      By the time that the Breeders Cup comes along in October-November, the top European horses, will have ran around Europe 5-6 times between April to October. Some of them will have ran in Meydan in March . Breeders Route might be good for the 4 year old and over as their season only really and truly kicks in around Royal Ascot or by August, but 3 year olds would have started earlier .

      Truth is, Breeders Cup is slightly an afterthought. The kind of place you go to see if you can get the coveted Group 1 that you left behind in Europe. Also depends on the bred of the horse , if they are suitable for US racing

      Very rare for Arc Winners to go to the US (very poor record too when they do) Look how many Races Golden Horn Raced at 3 , in 2015. 4 different countries, never out of the top 2, seven races. The days of flogging horses 7-10 times in a season are over , as there is a fear that it ruins the horse for breeding , especially the fillies

      Some were a bit critical of GH going to the US. He still ran well . Found, she had just as busy a year as Golden Horn . That attitude of owners might be only confined to the likes of Coolmore and Godolpin , but they have breeding Empires, which includes America, to consider

      In Australia, their season falls nicely in that they start around September. They would have just ran the Cox Plate. They won’t go to the US because on the first week of November , along with the Melbourne Cup , they have some of their major races . They don’t even pop over to Hong Kong in December anyone, or for the Japan Cup.

      Lastly, if Breeders Cup insist on having World Class Group 1 races on tracks like Del Mare again, you will be almost certain that the Europeans will stop going . It is tricky for Breeders though because some of the better tracks in the East will be in rainy season (Keeneland 2015) or worse, snow

      In Japan, their big day is the Japan Cup in December. They are hell bent on stamping their mark in world racing, so perhaps attract them more, they are more prepared and willing to get into dirt racing than the European (not 1 Group 2 in dirt racing , never mind Group 1)

  • Jay

    This is so inane on so many levels that I do not know where to begin.

  • riatea

    Shockingly dumb.

  • Michael Castellano

    Terrible idea. It’s an attempt at a takeover of all the classics eventually. They are brain dead. What they need is ‘fantasy racing scheme”, one that will attract young betters.

  • Betty Earl

    Really dumb idea, what you will end up with is watered down BC Classic. 3 year olds do very well in The Classic.

  • Genellen

    The BC has too many races now. This is a stupid idea. The BC will never equal the Ky. Derby in appeal or recognition by the American public. Never.

  • Horsemonger

    Terrible idea – the Breeders Cup should be a one day 15 race affair….and it’s already too pricey for the average punter to see live (except from the infield – where you can watch it on a monitor)

    • Alan Shuback

      The BC should remain a 2-day festival on Saturday & Sunday, but racing is too weak to go up against the NFL. Remember the 1955 Swaps-Nashua match race at Hawthorne Park on a mid-week afternoon? 32,000 people showed up, about as many as go to Hawthorne these days annually.

  • GoodnessMe

    Wow. Does anyone at the Breeders’ Cup know about the HORSE in ‘horse racing’?
    And, oh, wait, I know, Lets confuse and fatigue the fans we can’t hold or attract even more. Yeah, yeah, that’s the ticket.

  • john

    Not a good idea…. the 3yos shine in the Classic most of the time…
    if they want to add a Derby, they should add an undercard race for $1 million to get the second tier 3yos who aren’t good enough for the big stuff…. iowa Derby, Indiana Derby, Okla Derby winner types.

  • Up the track jack

    DON’T ASK TRAINERS! They always favor restricted races.

    You will never get a full gate for the Classic if you introduce a race like this.

    Find another site outside of California for 2019 or 2020!

    • americanfor

      Have you bothered to look at the weather in November and December in the rest of the country. Florida and California are the only two states it should be run.

    • Charlie Ireton

      Why not come back to a world class racetrack WOODBINE. Racefans don’t know what they are missing.

      • Christy Dolan

        nice track. Shame it doesn’t attract as many solid to top class Europeans and Americans for the major races as it use to, especially the sprint race that is now a group 2.Awful shame that got demoted. Always a great BC prep.

    • Christy Dolan

      To hell with it, based it in Santa Anita, for ever. Great track.

      Del Mare was a shocking idea to place elite Grade 1 races, especially the turf races.

  • Bryan Langlois

    I will try to construct a comment to this idea when I can re-attach my jaw after picking up from the floor after such shock at it even being considered.

    • Bryan Langlois

      What I can say….as I have been saying all along….is that if you want to retain fan interest throughout the year…you need to create a racing series that the fans can follow. The Triple Crown has its interest because…yes…it is the Derby…but also because fans can follow the horses a little easier in the 3 race series. Create a series for horses throughout the year that fans can follow, and they will. Tie a huge bonus to the series and get the fans involved through contests on social media. It can work. I get the desire to do what owners may want to do for more easy races against same age group competition, but in this scenario it will not work. How many horses that even contest the Triple Crown races are around come Breeders Cup time anyway?? NONE of the Triple crown race winners last year were in the Breeders Cup at all, or even racing in the fall really. Re-attached my jaw now and can say it is dumbest idea BC has come up with so far….which of course means….the way racing does things…I expect to see a BC Derby in place for the BC this fall.

      • Christy Dolan

        The Triple Crown horses just were not good enough this year. Some of them had been heavily races from October of their 2 year old career right up to June with 5-7 races . Can hardly expect them to run on for a few more races in the Autumn

        Re organise the Triple Crown dates and space them out? May, June and September? Not every horse contests all the Triple Crown races anyway , not sure it would be right to force them to do that as well.

        “Tie a huge bonus to the series and get the fans involved through contests on social media.”

        For who? The owners or the fans, if the latter, what kind of bonus? Priority tickets or discounts to other race meetings?

        This won’t be a popular opinion, but, maybe the Triple Crown is not that important anymore? In Europe, granted, there are three major jurisdictions to play with (Ireland, France and Britain, Britain being the most important until the Arc) Very few 3 year olds bother with the Triple Crown. (Guineas at 8 furlongs, Derby at 12, and St Leger at 14 furlongs )

        The True Triple Crown now a days is the British Guineas, British Derby and the French Arc (against the older horses) – and then throw in a race or two against the older horses such as the Eclipse , King George (beginning to lose its attractiveness due to the desire to win the 10 furlong races) and the International. Three year old’s greatness is determined by being able to beat the older horses

        • Bryan Langlois

          There probably will be slight changes to the spacing of the Triple Crown races in the coming years. Personally I would not want to see it, and there is enough evidence with both Pharoah winning and enough horses coming close in recent years that there is not a need for a change, but I can see it happening in the next 5 or 10 years.
          The series I have been talking about would be for older horses to keep the incentive for them to actually run more than their 3 year old year and then be retired to stud. The bonus in the series would be for the owners, like the old time ACRS was. The fan bonus would be linked in either with possible perks like prime seats, but basically my idea for it would be that horses are nominated by their owners to the series (perhaps for fee, perhaps not). Fans then can select a horse they want to be a “fantasy owner” of for a chance at 1% of the bonus money that horse might win in the series. Each horse could have as many fan owners as they want. If the horse does win any of the series bonus money, all those fans are put into one lottery type draw to see who wins the 1% bonus. These are just off the top of my head ideas. They would have to be tweaked of course and more things added like a real social media presence with it, and before the races at the post draw for races in the series you have it like boxing or MMA type weigh ins with the connections there to talk about their entrants. I actually would like to see a little fun trash talking happen in racing from time to time too you know? Makes it more real and exciting for the fans. Hell, we do it on the rail all the time, why can’t the connections have a little fun with it.
          As far as involving 3 year olds in it to face older horses, I really don’t see that as a viable part of it. When the PA Derby moved to its spot in later Sept and upped the purse, everyone with a top 3 YO is going to point for that and not taking on elders. It is sad to see but reality. Maybe have a second season 3YO series or something that picks up after the TC for horses that did not race in it.
          All of this can be done. The problem is tracks are too damn short sighted, ego driven, and in it for themselves to even think about trying to work together. That is why the ACRS failed, because the tracks eventually would not work together to make it work.
          The problem as I said above with the 3YO’s running against older horses is the schedule really does not force it to happen anymore. The problem with older horses actually running is that between the BC Classic, Pegaus World Cup, and Dubai World Cup…well…why would an owner want to run their horse more than 3 times a year for that kind of money. Its great for owners but screws the fans. There has to be a balance, and a racing series with enough bonus money to make it lucrative for the horses connections to keep running and that can really get fans interested to both get follow the sport AND understand it better (a huge education push needs to be done on this…and not just on how to bet) can accomplish that. Considering we can’t even get tracks to coordinate their post times for the betterment of the industry (something that would actually get the industry and extra 400 million or so in revenue according to data presented at last years Jockey Club Round Table) I seriously doubt it would ever happen.

          • Christy Dolan

            Good luck getting connections to open up to the media and to make fools of themselves. Braffert might be up for it, not sure about Chad Brown though

            The last thing we want to see are wealthy connections, mostly educated people, acting like MMA people. Racing is for the sport of the elite.

            1% fantasy ownership? Nice idea, very out there. So long as it is not a slice of the prize money…fans would have to pay for it though

        • Alan Shuback

          The concept of the Triple Crown in America has seen the three races morph into a single “race”. We need to re-emphasize each race as an individual classic.

      • Erin Casseday

        Really wish they (the racing industry) would try and bring back the Handicap Triple Crown. 🙃

  • Ed Fountaine

    If the Breeders’ Cup wants a REALLY BIG CROWD for the BC Classic, they should run it as the 13th race at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May!

  • Lefty_Orioles_Fan

    Since its inception, Breeders’ Cup has struggled to attract that non-racing fan.
    Prices, Prices, Prices
    Who in the world can afford to pay the prices that are charged???
    Hotel, Airfare, Gas, Car Rental, Tickets to get into the joint
    If you gamble and lose!!! You hitting up the Trailways Bus and ride home with Morgan Freeman (Shawshank Redemption shout out)

    It’s all Bull Man!!! That is why horse racing fails to expand.
    Plus, you run a mile and an 1/8 over a minute fifty is that Breeder’s Cup worthy?
    You run a 2:03 in a mile and a quarter Breeder’s Cup Worthy?
    We are already overpaying for the four major sports
    Baseball, Football, Basketball, Hockey so what’s another overpay?

    A shakedown is what it is!!!!!

    SMH

    • Christy Dolan

      “Plus, you run a mile and an 1/8 over a minute fifty is that Breeder’s Cup worthy?
      You run a 2:03 in a mile and a quarter Breeder’s Cup Worthy?”

      Funny how some racing jurisdictions are obsessed with times and splits while others focus on the lengths won.Might explain why the America Turf horses at Juvenile level or even the older Milers do well against the Euros, the former demand excellent starts while the Euros, especially in France start at a snails pace and sprint to the line (even the Euro’s find that very unsatisfactory , hence the use of pacemakers )

      Times can be variable, depending on the layout of the track, headwind/tailwind , ground, and the pace of the front runners or even if the horse is in top top form .

      If you are worried about the quality of the horses nominated for the BC races, fair enough , but isn’t there qualification races for that ?

      A 2 year old horse smashing a track record in a maiden or allowance or listed race means very little if they bomb in the next race, especially at Group 1 level . Likewise for the older horses

      • Lefty_Orioles_Fan

        The Three year olds last year were slow
        Irish War Cry who was a favorite for some, never really had it
        I know sometimes there are other factors besides time, but if you can’t break 1:50 in a mile and an eighth, you are not amongst the top horses.

        • Christy Dolan

          Hey, I am not criticizing your point, I just find it interesting. It is sensible to take it into account when betting and finding a reason for disagreeing with the “experts”, it is just, its not really what other jurisdictions consider despite it having its own time split experts , people go for the less scientific visual of how far they won , with has its own pitfalls eg Frankel’s 2000 Guineas romp against no bodies (look at the form of the other horses, horrendous ) It was not even a fast time

  • Flanders

    Maybe instead of adding a stupid worthless race to BC day. They should go back to adding money to other stakes races run across the country, like they used to.

  • Christy Dolan

    “That’s a question the organization’s board of directors is expected to ponder at an upcoming meeting, when a proposal to add a “Breeders’ Cup Derby” for 3-year-olds and push the Breeders’ Cup Classic to a separate date in December will be discussed”

    Stupid idea. Leave the Breeders Cup Classic where it is. The Breeders Cup weekend is nothing without the Classic being held at the same weekend. You are expecting horses to be running since February , maybe March (Meydan) and be on the go until December , stop start breaks.

    The first part of the season (for dirt horses) should be about the 3 year olds running in their classic races. The Second stage of the season, circa July – Autumn should always be about the 3 year olds taking on the older horses. Too many Group 1’s dilute the quality and the question as to who really is the true champion for that year. The Dirt racing programme is fine as it is, there is enough racing from January to June and then the Travers (which is also a 3 year only race) .

    In fact, it shows a lot of disrespect to the Travers , a race itself has it’s own storied history, the fall of Triple Crown winnners etc , Last year that race somewhat determined who the real 3 year old champion was.

    If anything, maybe the dirt racing needs to space out their three major races a little? Some will not agree , fair enough

    Maybe offer something more in the turf racing programme? Derby in Turf racing? Hmm, but the Secretariat in August seems to be a sufficient vehicle to achieve that , one of the best turf tracks around, Belmont would probably like to have its own race too.

  • lastromntribune

    the only style race left for the BC to put on would be ONE TURN MILE …WHICH BREEDERS USE AS A GAUGE TO TOP PROSPECTS FOR BREEDING…..( THE CHAMPAGNE)….after all…this is the breeders cup. those few horses that can win at a prolonged sprint distance are like hens teeth. they are the jewels of racings bloodlines and history proves it as milers make the best sires overall

  • Pawl Phinney

    Give them a chance to screw breeders cup up and they will……horse racing needs a czar bad!!!!!

  • Michael Converse

    I used to be that casual racing fan that the Breeders Cup organization is seeking to attract. I only occasionally watched a triple crown race but I didn’t even know the Breeders Cup existed for the first 27 years (despite being an avid reader of Andy Beyer’s columns in the sports section of the Washington Post). But I’ve since become an avid racing fan and have traveled from the east coast to California to attend in person 5 of the last 6 Breeders Cups. This is a terrible idea! Don’t do it. As an alternative suggestion, sponsor a 3 YO championship, in late September before the Breeders Cup, with an automatic entry into the BC Classic for the winner. Put up money, publicize it. Instead of interviewing people already immersed in the sport, make an effort to figure out what attracts casual fans of any sport become more interested before messing with a formula that already presents the sport of horse racing at its best.

  • Christy Dolan

    With the exception of California Chrome , there doesn’t seem to have been many horses that have captured the imagination of racing people and the casuals in equal measures for some time, bar American Pharoh, but, its easy to get exciting and jump the bandwagon of a horse that wins most of his races. With Chrome , you had the highs and lows of racing along with the rise again. Why? He raced for several years

    Flat racing , that simply is rare as there are stallions duties to consider , which can generate 2-4 times as much money in 3-4 seasons of mating than 2-4 years of racing could possibly do (if of course the horse won all the right races and comes from a proven pedigree)

    National Hunt racing gets the casuals in Britain and Ireland excited , not to mention the regulars. Why? They get to know the horse over the course of 2-4 years maybe more. The Grand National , a Group 3!!! Attracts millions world wide on tv not to mention bets by people who normally don’t bet. In flat racing a top 3 year old is almost guaranteed to be retired if they win the Derby and Arc and a WFA.

    Maybe racing just has to accept that fact and move on?

  • iliveforsaturday

    Every time I think racing truly can’t be any more ridiculous.

  • lastromntribune

    if your going to add a race at least make it one that enhances the breed…..have a one turn mile…..that is the type of race that produces the top breeders prospects overall. think the “Champagne”…with older horses in it.

  • Inkboy95

    Breeders Cup Ltd. the same idiots that had the security guards telling people they couldn’t sit in there Breeders Cup chairs that they bought at Del Mar on the apron of the track. The same idiots that were passing out 2016 San Diego county fair glasses at the 2017 Breeders Cup only 7.50 but you got a refill of your soda for 2.50. Yeah I have full confidence in there leadership. Lol

    • StrideBig

      They wouldn’t let people sit in seats they purchased?

    • Christy Dolan

      The sitting at the apron of the track, I don’t know Del Mare that well. But was that to prevent copy cats, and thus become a potential health and safety issue if a stampeede or Fire occurs?

      • Donald

        No some rule breeders cup had. There was a large uproar from people that went and bought these chairs at the souvenir stand the people at the stands selling the chairs were telling people they could use them. But the security guards were saying pack them up you can’t use them. A bunch of us sitting on one of the few benches actually drug are benches around a lady that had bought one thinking the guards would bother her we were wrong. They came over and said pack it up or your ejected. Long story short someone complained to one of the Breeders Cup Vp’s he came down and told the guards to let it go. Not very well organized. At all.

        • Christy Dolan

          If it is not healthy amd safety then the security guards were idiots.

          A huge tv money shot for ALL races, are pictures of happy people, in a laid back picnic setting sampling the merchandise (glasses,seats, , special drinks etc) and wearing fancy hats and clothes. You watch Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood, it’s just as much about looking at the crowd and showing beauty of the race course.all siting on the grass Hill or picnic areas having their picnics or sipping on pims .(actually the after parties at the car parks at Royal Ascot are as famous as the races, as are the Newmarket July meeting. Very short sighted by the guard

          Credit to the VP who had the cop on to realise that.

  • Victoria Keith

    Dear BC, what exactly is the mission of the BC? I thought it was to showcase the best in the divisions at the end of the year, with a BC race corresponding to each division, creating an exciting event to bring fans to the sport. And it worked — gloriously! It used to be by far the best day in racing, and yes, far better than Derby day. Then the BC expanded to include all these non-championship caliber races, all for the sake of increasing handle. This resulted in the BC being taken off Network TV and being divided over multiple days and cable stations. Now you are talking of these proposals, all for the sake of increasing handle. Is your mission to hold championship races and promote racing, or raise handle? Has it ever occurred to you that maybe BC day would be as big or bigger than the Derby had you not tinkered with the perfection you once had? Doesn’t the one race of the Derby show you that less can be more? You should’ve never changed the BC from its once glorious day. Please don’t ruin it any more than you already have.

  • Alan Shuback

    Breeders’ Cup Derby? Dreadful idea. Not only would it lure 3yo’s away from the Classic, but 3yo’s have no business running in their own age group after August, especially at the graded race level.

  • Guest

    I plan all year for the current Breeders’ Cup weekend and it’s a pretty big payout for us. There’s no way I would travel back to where ever for another race the next month. It would be one or the other, and probably that would be BC weekend. Besides that December is too cold and it could be snowing/raining.

  • bluegrass

    When are people going to figure out that less is more.

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