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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Has the Breeders Crown Lost its Purpose?

An excellent article regarding thoroughbred's Breeders Cup was written in the Bleacher's Report.  The Breeders Cup has morphed into something a lot different than it was originally intended.  The part of the article I found most relevant to harness racing's Breeders Crown is how the Cup has gotten away from it's goal of rotating to different tracks to bring the world's best horses to tracks where they never see the best horses.  Some of the best Cup attendance and handle records came outside of New York, Kentucky, and California, yet the Breeders Cup has now established a policy where other tracks outside of these three states need not apply. 

Well, in harness racing, there appears to be no interest to have the Crown outside of Woodbine and the Meadowlands.  Last year, the race was at Pocono Downs; necessitated by the Meadowlands being unable  to host it.  Now that the Meadowlands. is saved, will the race resume the Woodbine-Meadowlands rotation or will it become a Woodbine-Pocono event?  What about bringing the Breeders Crown to those tracks where they never see the best horses to promote the industry?  It seems that goal has been given up.

What is the goal of the Breeder's Crown?  Is the purpose of the Breeders Crown to bring exposure of harness racing to areas that seldom, if ever, see North America's best?  Is it to expand interest in harness racing outside of the seventeen or eighteen states that currently host racing?  Or is it merely an event for the sport's elite to showcase their horses on their way to the breeding shed?

I understand there are few tracks who can afford or are willing to host the Breeders Crown, but for the sport to survive, the Breeders Crown needs to get out of its comfort zone.  Charge each track (to be split between horsemen and the track) .5% of their handle to be contributed to the Breeders Crown to pay for purses.  Have a track like Cal-Expo host the Crown, either at their own track or have them lease a high-exposure California track like Del Mar for a three week meet to highlight the Crown.  Bring the Crown to an Alberta Downs or a Northfield Park and let people who only see the best horses on a computer screen see them up close.  Worried about handle?  Race the races during the day or night and have all harness tracks simulcast the event from the host track, without competing against the Crown events.

If the Crown remains an old boy back slapping event, there is a good chance there won't be a Breeders Crown much longer.


Anonymous said...

Agree 100%. While it's a great event, I live in NJ and have seen enough live BC races. Let other areas get the exposure. Maybe you can create some new fans (god forbid).

ITP said...

Alberta Downs has the worst racing surface ever in the modern history of the sport. No good horse should ever be forced to race over the track at Cal-Expo. If I owned the best horse in the world and was 1/9 going for a million $, I wouldn't even consider racing on either track.

Northfield would not be a viable option as a majority of the races would be decided at noon during the draw and not at night on the track.

Pacingguy said...

I was using those tracks as examples. I have never scene them race at Alberta Downs. The point is get the race out where it can be used for marketing purposes. Bring the race where people are used to watching cheap horses races or somewhere where you can expose new people to the sport. Racing at the Meadowlands or Woodbine you are accomplishing nothing to attract new people. You may as well be racing the race in the obscurity of Lexington where the breeders go and hardly anyone else sees the races.

Bonnie said...

Deal with Morris Bailey and the NJTHA finalized and signed last night.
Lou Raffetto who used to run Laurel/Pimlico for Stronach will be running the show.

Pacingguy said...

Thanks Bonnie.

Bob said...

The Breeders Crown should replicate the Breeders Cup....