On Monday we talked about this years Breeders’ Cup Championships, and how the end-of-year event rotates each season to different iconic racing venues. This year being Del Mar.
So this begs the question- why hasn’t the oldest race course in America ever hosted this extravaganza? That’s right, Saratoga has never been home to the Breeders’ Cup.
The charm, beauty and the atmosphere at The Spa is second-to-none, yet there has never been a movement to bring the BC there.
There are a couple of seemingly obvious reasons.
First is the weather. It’s Upstate New York in November. But, it’s early November. In October, the average high in Saratoga is 61 degrees; the average low, 39, so there is a chance of cool weather. That said, the chances are good that you’ll see 45 to 55 degree weather for the two days of racing.
The second reason would be that the track is closed- but that’s not entirely accurate. The Saratoga season runs for 40 days from mid-July through Labor Day but the track is open for training from late March to November, which means it is staffed.
There is no place like Saratoga. In those 40 days of racing, over 900,000 fans attend. On weekends, attendance is closer to 40,000 than 30,000, so why wouldn’t these fans come out for the Breeders’ Cup?
While Saratoga might not be the best venue to watch horse racing, no other track is supported like The Spa.
Since 2008 when it was conceived, the Breeders’ Cup has, in many ways, taken the easy way out. Santa Anita is an easy pick—California, breathtaking with usually perfect weather. Ditto for Del Mar. It’s also easy to sell Churchill Downs. It has the Twin Spires and because of the Kentucky Derby, most Americans know the venue.
It’s important to get other locations involved. The Super Bowl rotates each year, so too, does the NCAA Men’s Final Four. Shouldn’t the Breeders’ Cup do the same? The NFL would much rather go to Miami than Minneapolis, but they know they have to spread things around- they did, after all, bring the Big Game to the New Jersey, Meadowlands in 2014.
Saratoga may not want the Breeders’ Cup, but that shouldn’t matter. The New York Racing Association should be approached and they should make it happen as soon as possible.
Those that run the sport in each state need to get out in front of this and one way to do this is through marketing. You market the people who work in the sport, who love the sport and most importantly, who care, and care deeply about the sport.
After that message sinks in, you market the actual racing aspect, and one of the best things the sport offers is Saratoga Race Course, a venue that has been around since 1864, the year before the Civil War ended.
The track has seen a lot; it deserves to see a Breeders’ Cup.