Thursday, February 14, 2008

Breeders' Cup Venue Selection Becomes a Campaign Issue

The Breeders’ Cup Host Site Selection Committee, which also serves as the Committee to Elect Our Man Denis Kucinich, is so impressed with the quality of racing on Santa Anita’s new Cushion Track that not only is it anxiously anticipating the 2008 Breeders’ Cup World Championships to be held there, that last week it awarded the 2009 Breeders’ Cup to Santa Anita as well.

According to a news brief posted on the Breeders’ Cup website,

The decision followed a lengthy review process ... which included discussions with multiple racing venues in different regions. The committee’s recommendation was unanimously approved by the Breeders’ Cup Board of Directors.

This statement should raise a red flag to anyone who has command of the English language. It’s the use of the word multiple. Let’s have a little discussion about the use of this word.

Multiple is an adjective which means "consisting of, having, or involving several or many individuals, parts".

According to various reports as well as my most reliable and exceptionally intelligent super-secret source, there were probably only two venues even under consideration: Churchill Downs and Santa Anita.
My understanding is that it was that after Monmouth the BC wanted to go back to a big venue and there were only really 3 options: SA, CD or Belmont. With Belmont out due to Nyra franchise issues, this really only left CD or SA.

My savvy journalist source goes on to mention things he heard “off the record” about “spurring false competition” and one of the venues wanting “more money out of the deal because they don’t make a big ENOUGH profit.”

The point being is that I do not consider two venues to be “multiple venues”, although my irritating high school English teacher would say that it’s “more that one so it’s multiple” and would subsequently give me a D.

But what I find so disheartening is that the Breeders’ Cup Brain Trust wants to devote itself to large venues in an effort to make more room for all the owners and breeders and sheikhs and their wallets. There is horse racing throughout most of our country – nay, the world – and many of the tracks, with the exception of maybe Blue Ribbon Downs in Sallisaw, Oklahoma, are proud of their facilities and communities and citizens. (Insert patriotic soundtrack here).

Maybe it’s because this whole Breeders’ Cup selection so-called process cast aside smaller venues, or maybe it’s because I was fortunate to enjoy Breeders’ Cup here, at Lone Star Park, or maybe I’m upholding all the efforts provided by other non-Churchill Downs/Santa Anita venues: Arlington Park and Monmouth Park. But I’m compelled to campaign for a fair selection process and take a stand against the use of the word “multiple” for anything less than three entities.

The Breeders’ Cup Host Site Selection Committee will probably never consider Les Bois or Hawthorne. But I know I would welcome the opportunity to see other sites – perhaps Tampa Bay Downs? – shine with some of the world’s best Thoroughbred racing.

(End soundtrack)


Handride said...

While Big Hosts should get the lion's share of events smaller tracks like Lone Star and Monmouth still have a lot of good things about them. What about Arlingotn, which isn't that small?

TripCrown73 said...

To me it's not just about the tracks but the ability of the fans to be able to see the best of the best. How many fans from the midwest or east coast can make the trip year after year to the west coast? I thought that was one of the best things about the BC, the fans being able to see the best horses; something that they didn't get to see everyday with the exception of a few tracks. Or at least have the ability to travel to a fairly nearby location to be able to witness the event every few years. To me moving the location yearly helped to keep or even build the fan base not discourage it.

I agree smaller venues should be given opportunities to showcase their own charm. There are too many good tracks that need the boost that the BC can provide.