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For the Breeders' Cup … It's All About Location, Location, Location

 
I was a little surprised with this week's news that horse racing's world championships, better known as the Breeders' Cup, will be headed back to Southern California and the familiar surroundings of Santa Anita Park in 2012. Mind you, I believe Santa Anita is a wonderful host for the Breeders' Cup, but I can't help wondering if the championships have strayed from the original ideals set forth nearly thirty years ago.

In a twelve year stretch from 1996 until 2007, the Breeders' Cup was held at nine different racetracks. In fact, when Monmouth Park hosted the event in 2007, it marked the sixth consecutive year where it was held at a different venue. In simple language, the Breeders' Cup got around. As a fan, I enjoyed these years. Since then, the world championships have, or will be run at Santa Anita, Santa Anita, Churchill Downs, Churchill Downs, and Santa Anita. I fear the days of seeing the richest weekend in sports being celebrated in places like Florida, Texas, New Jersey, Illinois, and Ontario, Canada are in danger of being lost forever.

I think we can all agree that the Breeders' Cup is racing's most important event in America, if not the world. Sans the hoopla of the Kentucky Derby, it truly brings the best horses together for a climatic conclusion of the season, division by division. Such an event should not be permanently held at only one, or two places. Can you imagine a Super Bowl always held at the same stadium? I can't. How about if the Yankees are in the World Series every year, meaning we get the pleasure of seeing Yankee Stadium every single October. Yawn.

I realize I only speak for myself when I say I enjoy the diverse locales, but I hope the majority of race fans out there will stand up and say they want to see the Breeders' Cup in their area. Staging the Breeders' Cup in a different place each year provides the viewer an opportunity to see the best horses running in different climate, landscape, and of course, on unique racetracks. It also provides local fans the chance to watch the best horses running on their home track. What could be more exciting than that?

It can be argued that different locations on a yearly basis, create logistical problems for those who run the event, and those who may need to work harder to get their horses in the starting gate from year to year. Are these really good enough reasons to limit our world championships? I know what my answer would be.

Weather is another case I hear made a lot. Santa Anita is likely to be sunny and warm, while many other places are not. So what? I want to see great horse racing in 40 degree, 60 degree, and 80 degree weather. And what if it rains? So be it. That's all part of the sport. The day horse racing moves into an indoor arena, with not a drop of outside weather, is the day I stop following the game. These feelings are the same way I feel about golf, by the way.

Maybe the majority would disagree with me, and opt for only one permanent location, but to me this takes away from the feeling of a fair and balanced championship weekend of racing. Some horses will like Santa Anita better than others. That is a fact. Therefore a permanent location will always be less fair than a Breeders' Cup that moves from year to year. Imagine if you owned a horse of this kind of quality, only to also know that your horse did not run his best at the permanent site of the Breeders' Cup.

Please understand, I am not trying to indict the good people at Breeders' Cup for the recent stagnation of the location of their signature event. I'm quite sure there are numerous factors that go into these decisions, and they are not solely accountable for why we are seeing the traveling world championships have their wings clipped, but I for one, am more than a little disappointed that it has happened.

 

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Older Comments about For the Breeders' Cup … It's All About Location, Location, Location...

In 09, I was wearing a tshirt and shorts. In 2010, I was wearing a scarf, gloves, long sleeves, and thermal underwear. And Ill be happy to bundle up again in 2011. Also cant wait for 2012 in Santa Anita. 3 and half hour drive to Vegas. Fly into Vegas on Monday. spend a few days, drive out to Santa Anita. What a perfect week!
I hope they have it in Woodbine again sometime! I think going to another country makes it much more of a "World Championships," not to mention that I'm Canadian and would LOVE to have the BC in Canada.
I've written a complete response to bother Brian's blog and that of Steve Crist's at Daily Racing Form (where he blasts the BC for not giving the 2012 BC to Belmont Park) at: http://www.toosmarttofail.com/forums/showthread.php?11371
  • walt.gekko · In a nutshell, my opinion there is for NYRA to get the BC again, they will have to install lights, which I think will be a requirement of ANY track to host the BC in the future. It's also why aside from 2012 I can see Churchill hosting several Breeders' Cups in a row unless another track capable of racing at night makes a serious bid to host the BC. · 1124 days ago
It is a shame in a way. i would love to see it somewhere different every year. And that is a true statement even though I admit having CD in my backyard I've been blessed last year and this year. But I think it should be spread. it's horse racing and horses are tough, so should be the people going to the rac…read morees. If it comes up muddy, or cold who cares. That adds to the excitement of the race. Think of Alysheba's Classic in the shadows, or Cigar overcoming mother nature in that spectacular time, or Goldi cruising to BC Mile number three in subpar ideal temps.
Having the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita 3 out of 5 years is nothing less than a slap in the face to us East Coast fans who can't afford to make the trip out to CA, but could easily afford to make a day drive for Belmont. I hope the Breeders' Cup gets it right in 2013 and chooses somewhere other than Santa Anita or Churchill Downs. I'd even go if it was at Woodbine.
SA Again!?!? The bias side of me will say..YESSS but I do agree with alot of you...it should be something like the Olympics...different tracks across and states. Seems right now its CA, KY or sometimes NY but nowhere else. Seems that there are alot of new and renovated tracks out there..why not showcase them? I think it would be good for the sport and let racing fans from different areas be lucky enough to see these exciting races in person.
Brian, I agree with you. I have been to all but the 1985 and 1990 Breeders Cups, and it was great to visit the different tracks and cities. I would prefer a rotation between the east coast, Kentucky and the west coast. But it seems that the Breeders Cup for mostly economic reasons wants a single site for the Championships. In this case the best site would be Santa Anita. Weather does matter, the Super Bowl travels around but usually to domed stadiums or warm weather cities. And one other thing, Kentucky has the Derby-Oaks weekend, Maryland has the Preakness, New York has the Belmont, Travers and the whole Saratoga meet, why not have one major racing event in California?
I'm late to the party here, but I feel the BC should be like the Super Bowl or Olympics. A different location each year is part of what I thought made this special. Why not come back to AP, WO, MTH, etc.???
West coast bias.
Can't get no better! BC in Cali makes east coast horses come to town to challenge.
I agree with MeganLamb, Twinspires and West Coast racing interest hold greater sway over the BC folks. Belmont and Gulfstream are being frozen out.
Glad to see SA got its act together and has a dirt track. BC would not have returned to sunny california without a dirt track. Classic CD and SA are the 2 best and most logical choices at the moment for racing fans. SA on the west coast and midwest to east fans can get to CD. I think Monmouth park should also be in the mix for the east coast horse race fans. I live in ohio and would oneday love to go to CD to see the BC in person. Looking forward to watching and wagering on the BC 2011 from Thistledown racetrack in ohio.
Glad it's on the West coast in 012, for purely selfish reasons--much easier (and affordable) for me to get to CA. For fans closer to the west coast--there is some rejoicing!
Glad it's on the West coast in 012, for purely selfish reasons--much easier (and affordable) for me to get to CA. For fans closer to the west coast--there is some rejoicing!
I'm a New Yorker and I want to see the BC in Belmont every so often. Everyone watches the Super Bowl, but it feels special when your hometown is in it. No one should monopolize the BC, it should rotate.
Think about this: California racing is in dire straights. As Aquduct polishes the final touches on it's new casino that will bring better and faster horses to NYC, California HAS ABSOLUTELY NO CHANCE TO GET SLOTS IN OUR LIFETIME. California is a state that has the most horseplayers, but many have started to give up on the sport out here. Remember, most of these horseplayers also play out of state simulcasts that help the industry. Churchill has the KY Derby, Pimlico has the Preakness and the Belmont are all located far to the east of Calif. Each spring, Calif horses have to travel to participate in the Triple Crown. A steady Breeders Cup will help the sport tremendously out here. The Preakness has saved Pimlico from the wrecking ball. Steven Crist alluded if Santa Anita becomes the permanent home of the BC, eastern trainers and owners will boycott the event. Oh really? I don't know of one western trainer who boycotts the Triple Crown. And I doubt ANY eastern owner would boycott a $5 million race because it's in La-La land. Steve where's your list of boycotters. SAVE RACING IN CALIFORNIA, WE ALL WIN IF WE DO.
Still remebering that it has been 15 years since Woodbine saw one of best Classics ever....
I read somewhere that Belmont is a possibility for2013. However, I agree that the Breeders Cup should start looking at other venues rather than at the same consistent one. Different weather and different regions adds to the excitement, as well as shows the true enthusiasm of the most genuine racing fan. We shouldn't have to be babied to love our sport.
Hooh Yah Brian..the different tracks ARE part of what makes the championships so much fun.
I'm with you Brian. I loved the different locations. How can Belmont not be the site for the BC. I was looking forward to 2012 in NY. Was Belmont ever being considered? Did NYRA even show any interest?

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