Bobby Flay explains his Breeders’ Cup Derby idea

October 27, 2018 01:51am

Celebrity chef Bobby Flay, in an interview both outspoken about and supportive toward the upcoming Breeders’ Cup, this week explained the story behind his idea for a Breeders’ Cup Derby in an interview with fellow horse owner Jim Rome on his CBS Sports Radio show.

“I thought it would be a really good way to showcase all the 3-year-olds that were running in all the Triple Crown races through the year being marketed in the very best way on NBC,” said Flay, a former Breeders’ Cup board member. “The public at large will actually know those horses’ names when we get to the Breeders’ Cup and let the 3-year-old division get settled in the Breeders’ Cup Derby.

“It got shot down. The Breeders’ Cup did not want to do it. They have a very hard time sort of going away from tradition, so to speak.”

Flay has since left that official post in part, he said, to continue spreading the word about racing “and not worry about sort of what the board has to say.”

The Breeders’ Cup-winning owner continues to work closely with the championships, however, on a major initiative heading into this year’s event. Flay’s Rock Shrimp Productions worked on All In, the video series released this week that follows connections in the run up to the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The Breeders’ Cup did ultimately add an age-specific race to this year’s lineup, a 5 1/2-furlong Juvenile Turf Sprint.

“It’s not going to make anybody take their day off on Friday to watch the Breeders’ Cup,” Flay told Rome. “I think it’s going to be a really good, competitive race, but to me it’s about creating awareness for the people that do not know the sport, and that’s what All In’s about. So hopefully we can pick some new people up.”

Flay said his focus is on appealing to those outside of racing with the series, which can be seen in full on Facebook Watch. Rather than focus on the horses that come and go, it’s about getting to know the human connections who could be back year after year.

“Once you get a piece or you get a feeling, it’s hard to get yourself away from it,” he said of racing. “It’s almost addicting in a way — in the very best way.”

Later in the interview, Rome, whose Mizdirection twice won the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, echoed Flay.

“We just have to find a way to get people to the game, because once they get to the game, they love the game,” Rome said. “We just have to find a way to get them in the door. That’s the big challenge, of course.”

In the short-term, at least, that won’t be done through a Breeders’ Cup Derby.


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Editor at Horse Racing Nation, Jonathan has a slight addition to Twitter and the ongoing conversations surrounding racing. Often, that leads to some worthwhile content that doesn't always get seen by the masses, hence this blog.

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