By Lorie Hailey
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (June 14, 2013) — The Breeders’ Cup Championships will not return to Churchill Downs in 2014.
A Louisville online news magazine is reporting that the graded stakes race is unlikely to return to the Louisville racetrack in the “foreseeable future.” Insider Louisville says the race may permanently move to Florida or California.
The 2014 race will be conducted at Santa Anita.
Breeders’ Cup spokesman Jim Gluckson said the 2014 race decision was simply that: a decision about 2014. No sites have been selected beyond 2014, he said, and the board will consider any venue capable of hosting the event.
Stories that said the Breeders Cup is leaving Kentucky are “simply not true,” Gluckson said.
“Any speculation that Churchill Downs won’t be considered as a future host is inaccurate,” he added. “… The current situation is nothing more than two businesses being unable to agree on one date, 2014.”
Santa Anita was chosen for 2014 because the board is “enjoying its current partnership with Santa Anita,” the Los Angeles Times reported. Craig Fravel, CEO of Breeders’ Cup, also said its broadcast partner, NBC, was happy with the weather and time slot presented by a late fall racing weekend in Southern California.
John Asher, vice president of racing communications at Churchill, said the historic racetrack had “extensive discussions with the Breeders’ Cup on the possibility of serving as its host track in 2014 and our parties had no financial disagreements. The Breeders’ Cup and its board simply decided to go another way.”
Asher offered no reason for Breeders’ Cup decision on the 2014 race.
“It’s up to the Breeders’ Cup to explain the reasoning for the selection of its 2014 host site, but that decision should in no way be interpreted to be the result of any lack of willingness on the part of Churchill Downs to host the event, or as a negative reflection on the spectacular job that Metro Louisville and its hotels, restaurants, businesses and – most importantly – its racing fans have done in welcoming the Breeders’ Cup during its eight record-shattering visits to our track,” he said.
The Breeders’ Cup has been conducted at 10 different race tracks since 1984. The most frequent venues have been Churchill Downs, Santa Anita and Belmont Park in New York.
The Breeders’ Cup was last conducted in Louisville in 2011. More than 100,000 fans attended.