Odds on for Churchill Downs to host Breeders’ Cup again?

A long-rumored sponsorship between the Breeders’ Cup and Churchill Downs Inc.’s TwinSpires.com was announced Monday, which could be a sign that the year-end thoroughbred championships will be headed back to the Twin Spires again.

The earliest that could be is 2018, as Keeneland Race Course hosts this year, Santa Anita Park next year and Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in 2017.


For sure, the new “multi-year” sponsorship means TwinSpires will be the title sponsor of the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint and the official wagering partner of the Lexington-based Breeders’ Cup.

“The high quality and standards of brand excellence and popularity of TwinSpires for its wagering customers are a perfect fit for our championships,” Breeders’ Cup CEO Craig Fravel said in a statement.

“The Breeders Cup Championship races are amongst the best racing content on the planet and it’s a natural fit for us to be the official wagering partner,” TwinSpires marketing vice president Ian Williams said in the announcement.

Louisville-based Churchill’s online wagering company gets a package of television, digital and print media benefits, including commercial time on NBC and NBCSN Breeders’ Cup telecasts.

Unsaid in the announcement is the first outward sign of a better relationship between the two industry behemoths that haven’t exactly been best buds since the Breeders’ Cup last was held at the Central Avenue track in 2011. At a minimum, the organizations have had business differences at times. While officials of both organizations suggested they had a good relationship and that Churchill was a likely candidate to be a future host, this is the first concrete sign beyond those statements.

Where can I get a future book bet on the 2018 Breeders’ Cup being at Churchill Downs? If it’s not 2018, my guess is it’s probably shortly after. Site selection and sponsorships probably are separate, but the one sure can’t hurt the other.

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