Sanan: Why Breeders’ Cup chose Santa Anita

by | 08.11.2011 | 12:02pm

Horse owner and Breeders' Cup board member Satish Sanan shed some light Thursday on the thinking behind selecting Santa Anita to host the 2012 running of the Breeders' Cup.  On the Steve Byk radio show on Sirius XM, Sanan said, essentially:  It's not all about the money, but that has a lot to do with it.  He said in order to hold the Breeders' Cup at Belmont Park, purses would have to be cut from $25 million or $26 million to about $15 million just to break even:

“You'd have to be stupid to not look at it because the reserves are not that big,” Sanan said.  “We can go to Belmont and cut the purses to $15 million and break even and make a political strategic decision to support NYRA and do that.  If that's what you want to do, there's nothing wrong with it.  It's very tough decision because if you do the wrong things, you're going to get criticized anyway.”

As for NYRA's pitch to the BC board, Sanan said:  “Frankly, with all due respect to NYRA management and executives, they have not put their best foot forward.  There is this degree of arrogance that comes across.  'If we don't get it, we're going to put on our own show.'  If you really want this, which is the industry event, then you have to do everything you can, and you should, to make it the most successful and make it entertaining and have good facilities.”

But Sanan also said there is support for NYRA among Breeders' Cup board members, and there is an attempt to “make sure the rotation is reconsidered in the future.”

Sanan told Byk if this decision came up 10 times, the result would be the same all ten times:

“Let's look at the previous Breeders' Cups,” Sanan said.  “How many have been successful?  The last two at Santa Anita, every criteria you take was very, very successful.  Handle was up, the on-site was up, simulcasting was up. It has great weather.  We get great sponsorship.  We have the best facilities that can accomdate 70,000 people.  It has all the attractions. It has the highest amount of revenue and the highest amount of profitability.”

“So, if you were to write these 10 or 15 things down, and say which one of these would NYRA score on?   I will tell you there will only be two.  You can get sponsors because of the metro area.  And you can get the pageantry because of New York provided they can get the faciliites sorted out.”

But, Sanan said, with respect to profitability, if the Breeders' Cup went to Belmont Park three years in a row, the event would “disappear.”

Click here to listen to Thursday's At the Races with Steve Byk.

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