Breeders’ Cup wants to include Del Mar

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.

6 thoughts on “Breeders’ Cup wants to include Del Mar

  1. I would bet you any amount you name that synthetics will be at Del Mar way past 2012. Harper will not back down.

    Just saw Tapeta was installed at Meydan, the home the Dubai World Cup, my guess is they will no problems getting horses to run over the surface.

  2. Running Doug … well, we’ll see who’s right. It will be pretty hard to race at Del Mar in 2012 if no owners want to run their horses there. Someone in the industry who was back at the Keeneland September yearling sale the past two weeks told me the number of owners and trainers back there who want to send their horses to California is dwindling by the day. Not good news for a state already short on horses.

  3. Karen, that was a hysterical comment! Well Done! Del Mar has long been the biggest price gouger in all of California racing. I live virtually next door to Santa Anita which is a very easy train ride away from Del Mar and I haven’t been there in about six years! I just simply WILL NOT be gouged like that!

    Modifying their turf course and licensing issues are probably the least of their worries about holding a Breeders Cup however. Another reason I have for staying away is perhaps the biggest elephant in the room that everybody’s trying to ignore, and that nobody can do anything about. It’s called SPACE!

    The last time I was there was for the Pacific Classic of 2003 (Candy Ride’s other-worldly race), and I swore then that I would never go back because not only do you have to knock over Fort Knox to go there, but you can’t breathe because of the crowds! I really enjoyed standing in a concession line for 45 mins for the privilege of paying $10 for domestic draft, spending another half-hour squeezing between bodies getting back to my seat! At least I was able to actually save some money by not being able to bet two races during that time! I don’t remember what the attendance was that day, but I think it was somewhere in the area of 30-35K, and if they think they’re capable of handling another 15-20K or more, they’re definitely smoking something!

    The idea of a Breeders Cup and its accompanying crowd being at Del Mar is one of the funniest jokes I’ve heard in a long time! LOL!

    To paraphrase the beloved Yogi Berra: Nobody will go there because it will be too crowded! :-)

    Rant over!

  4. It would be better to host it at Del Mar for 5 years than to host it at Saratoga or Belmont Park. At least at Del Mar the horses won’t freeze to death.

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