This blog has suggested on multiple occasions that the new developments between Louisville-based Churchill Downs Inc. and the Lexington-based Breeders’ Cup Ltd. would appear to set the stage for a return of the year-end championship races to the Central Avenue track sooner than later.
Those developments are Churchill’s TwinSpires.com becoming the official wagering partner of the Breeders’ Cup and Churchill’s flagship track raising the points value of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in qualifying for the 2016 Kentucky Derby.
Lexington Herald-Leader turf writer Alicia Wincze Hughes asked Breeders’ Cup CEO Craig Fravel about the site issue and the meaning of the business deals. Fravel says the Breeders’ Cup’s relationship has been good for years and the site selection is a separate issue.
“I would say the path has always been clear for Churchill to host Breeders’ Cup in terms of eligibility interest and all that,” Fravel said. “I don’t think this necessarily reflects any kind of change of relationship between the two of us. … Ever since I’ve been here which is 2011, I’ve felt like our relationship with Churchill Downs is good. I think that with the sponsorship and their responsiveness on this (Juvenile) subject, I think it’s even better than good.”
Most in racing believed the Breeders’ Cup would return to Churchill Downs someday and site selection is a separate board decision, but – as noted before – the new developments clearly don’t hurt.
You might even say the chances of a Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs in 2018, or soon after, are “even better than good.”