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Commentary: The Breeders' Cup in NY: Overdue

The following is an editorial commentary regarding the rumored awarding of the 2012 Breeders’ Cup to Santa Anita (first reported in Thoroughbred Times, and thereafter in several other outlets). The views reflected here are solely mine (but based on this piece composed yesterday by Horse Racing Nation managing editor Brian Zipse, I can safely assume that it will speak for him as well). In the interest of full disclosure, please allow me to preface these remarks by stating that I am an employee of Breeders’ Cup LTD.
 
Saint Liam’s Classic triumph in 2005 punctuated the last Breeders’ Cup run at Belmont Park. And with this week’s apparent news that the event will return to Southern California in 2012, that will make, at least, eight years between Breeders’ Cups held at Big Sandy. In that span, Santa Anita and Churchill Downs will have hosted the World Championships three times each.
 
NYRA is reserving comment on the decision until it becomes official. But there is no inquiry on the board, in this case. Santa Anita’s number is staying up.
 
And that is a shame.
 
The Breeders’ Cup has done an outstanding job promoting their event over the past few years. Yes, the great mare Zenyatta has given their promotional team something great to work with over the past three years. But you can’t argue with the numbers. Television ratings have risen dramatically. Handle has gone up during that time as well.
 
Still, I fail to see how turning your back on media market number one is a wise promotional tactic.
 
Granted, it is not as though the event is being staged in Peoria. Los Angeles is the nation’s second largest media market. But there are still opportunities that holding the event in New York presents that holding it in Los Angeles does not.
 
New York provides a location that is relatively close to ESPN’s “campus.” Since ESPN is the rightsholder for the Breeders’ Cup, they would certainly be willing to aid in the promotion. Several of the principals could go through the so-called “Bristol Car Wash,” making appearances on several ESPN programs over the course of a day.
 
But even looking past the unique promotional opportunities that New York affords a major event (which are plentiful), the sport has one of its largest bases in the New York metropolitan area. Despite conditions that were less than ideal in both 2005 and especially in 2001, large crowds have turned out for the event in the past. Despite the shutdown of America’s largest bet-taker, New York City OTB, fans have continued to support the product, not only at the three NYRA tracks, but across the country.
 
New York cannot match the pristine conditions and breathtaking beauty of Santa Anita in (most likely sunny) Arcadia, California. Nor cannot it measure up to the incredible heritage and prestige that Kentucky offers. But (please forgive the New York elitism that follows) this is New York. The greatest city on the planet. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.
 
Only, this move on the part of the Breeders’ Cup clearly indicates a clear measure of doubt that they can, in fact, make it here.
 
A pity.

 

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Older Comments about Commentary: The Breeders' Cup in NY: Overdue...

sick of Santa Anita and its thumb sucking fans; Sorry, Belmont is so fantastic that I am bewildered at this assignment. And Monmouth should be up for a spot.
pleaz2k10 - Point well taken. When you say that they are having problems with new dirt surface, they had problems with the Pro-Ride. Guess they can't win for losing. Maybe they ought to have it in M Rod's synthetic shrine backyard(muhaha).
*hasn't*
@CauseForConcern: Well, it's not as if Santa Anita has had is own share of turmoil (i.e., the wageringtakeout controversy, problems with new dirt surface, problems with filling fields)...
Bottom line, who paid the most to be the host. C,mon isn't there at least one businessman here. That how it works, past, present, and future. I really have to laugh.
plez2k10, I was just mentioning a possible reason why they would overlook Belmont. Another possibility might be the turmoil that they have had lately with NYRA.
Furthermore DRF whiner, Steven Crybaby claimed that if the BC was permently moved to SA, eastern trainers would "boycott" the event. REALLY, Steve. Do Western trainers boycott the triple crown because it's held east of the Mississippi? And where's your list of trainers that are willing to tell their owners: "We're not running in the $5 million BC Classic because it's held in La-La land. Instead we'll wait for the Carter Handicap at Aqueduct!" WHERE'S THE LIST, STEVIE?
@CauseForConcern: The tragedies at Belmont in 1990 did not prevent the Breeders' Cup organizers from scheduling the Cup at Belmont in 2005...
Furthermore DRF whiner, Steven Crybaby claimed that if the BC was permently moved to SA, eastern trainers would "boycott" the event. REALLY, Steve. Do Western trainers boycott the triple crown because it's held east of the Mississippi? And where's your list of trainers that are willing to tell their owners: "We're not running in the $5 million BC Classic because it's held in La-La land. Instead we'll wait for the Carter Handicap at Aqueduct!" WHERE'S THE LIST, STEVIE?
Furthermore DRF whiner, Steven Crybaby claimed that if the BC was permently moved to SA, eastern trainers would "boycott" the event. REALLY, Steve. Do Western trainers boycott the triple crown because it's held east of the Mississippi? And where's your list of trainers that are willing to tell their owners: "We're not running in the $5 million BC Classic because it's held in La-La land. Instead we'll wait for the Carter Handicap at Aqueduct!" WHERE'S THE LIST, STEVIE?
Santa Anita does have one problem: the unproven dirt track itself. It seems SA has been changing its surface because of problems. If the surface is unsafe or comes out like a dragstrip that produces world-record times, then go somewhere else. Hollywood Park actually has the safest surface, but easterners are tired of synthetic horses kicking their butts.
Every year the Super Bowl is played in a city with decent winter weather (unless it's played) in a northern domed stadium. That tradiltion has kept the game from being played in blizzard conditions. I was in Las Vegas the year Monmouth held it. I stopped betting on the races because of the quagmire that developed. Just this week Saratoga was plauged with sloppy tracks that can happen this time of the year. Santa Anita is the 1-5 favorite for having the best weather and fast track, now that Gulfstream is on the also-eligible list.
The reason why they might be hesitant, is due to the tragedieds that have happened @ Belmont. Ruffian, Swale, Mr. Nickerson, Shaker's something, Go For Wand, Prairie Bayou. I think this is a great track, but looking at it from a media standpoint, they might not want to endure another tragedy at this track. Therefore, the hesitance on their behalf, to go back to Belmont?
"13outsider13 · I meant to say save Dallas in that loast post, but even big D beats nyc on all fronts now." Who can forget a city when way back in 63 had the best sharp shooters in the world. Can't even imagine what they have there now. Maybe if they get the BC we can have nuclear fireworks.
I agree, the BC needs to come to NY. I currently live in NY and would love to see the BC @ Belmont. The track where legend's are made!
Great post Joe. The Breeders' Cup is seriously shooting themselves in the foot doing it at SA again. It's a slap in the face not to bring the BC back east.
LOL 13 Outsider, I know better than to mess with Texas. I hear nothing but wonderful things about many of those cities, and would love to, one day, check it out for myself. Still, New York is the ________ capitol of the world. Be it arts & entertainment, finance, sports, media , etc., New York features the cream of the crop in so many different walks of life.
BigA, any city in Texas save beats NYC for charm, friendliness, talented and smart folks, and making s**t happen, and Austin, TX, is at the forefront.
  • plez2k10 · ...and in terms of thoroughbred racing prestige and historical significance, New York easily beats any city in Texas... an · 1272 days ago
With the BC in SA makes the east coast horses come to the wild, wild, west! Perfect
Maybe Belmont Park wouldn't need lights if the Breeder's Cup got off this insane amount of races!!

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