Track president Joe Harper has maintained for years now that Del Mar is a viable option as the host track for a future Breeders’ Cup. Santa Anita will host the event for a record second consecutive year on Nov. 6-7 during its Oak Tree meet, Churchill Downs will host an overall record seventh Breeders’ Cup in 2010 and, though it won’t be officially announced until sometime next spring, Belmont Park would seem to be the leading contender for the 2011 event.
Del Mar in 2012? By that time track management will have had plenty of time to expand its turf course to Breeders’ Cup specifications and any leasing issues will have been solved. It seems like the perfect year for Del Mar to host its first Breeders’ Cup. San Diego has hosted a World Series and Super Bowl. Why not the World Series or Super Bowl of horse racing?
In an exclusive interview recently, Breeders’ Cup president Greg Avioli said event officials love the idea of the World Championships being held by the shores of the Pacific Ocean.
“We have a very close relationship here at the Breeders’ Cup with Joe Harper, (executive vice president) Craig Fravel and the entire Del Mar management team, and in our opinion they’re one of the top management teams in all of racing and probably all sports,” Avioli said. “They have a tremendous facility, one of my personal favorites, and I believe that the city of San Diego would really embrace a Breeders’ Cup in the same way that we felt the Dallas and Fort Worth area would when we went to Lone Star (Park).
“We would love to have a Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar, and we have been in semi-active discussions with Del Mar over the last decade to explore what it would take for us to come there. Right now the two biggest challenges, and I don’t think they are big challenges, are their license renewal and that they would need to make some modifications to their turf course. Once those are accomplished, I would be the strongest advocate there is for holding a Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar. I just think it would be a perfect venue for it.”
It’s going to happen. It’s only a matter of when, and the only question is whether Del Mar will still have its synthetic Polytrack surface when the Breeders’ Cup comes to town. In my opinion, it’s less than even-money that synthetics will still be around when the Breeders’ Cup comes to San Diego.