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Breeders' Cup still in Del Mar's dreams
September 3, 2003
DEL MAR – If you were starting to wonder about, or possibly give up on, the idea of Del Mar hosting a Breeders' Cup, take heart.
Three Breeders' Cup representatives – Director of Event Communications Jim Gluckson, Vice President of Customer Service Debbie Blair and VP of Event Marketing Damon Thayer – were on the West Coast last week to check out Santa Anita's readiness for hosting the 20th Breeders' Cup on Oct. 25.
When their work was done in Arcadia, they stopped here to check out the plant and say hello to the people at a place where the desire to host a Cup has long been expressed, but the possibility of it happening has seemed remote.
Gluckson assessed Del Mar's chances of hosting a Breeders' Cup as very good, based on the preliminary presentation made by the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club to Breeders' Cup site selection representatives in June at Lexington, Ky., and what he saw here.
"I hadn't been to Del Mar since the mid-'90s so it has changed quite a bit, and I'm impressed with what has been done," Gluckson said. "Looking around the area, it seems like there are a lot of new hotels and development, which you need (for a host site)."
The "destination location" and high probability of glorious weather even in the late fall are obvious factors in Del Mar's favor. But equally obvious factors on the minus side are a turf course that is not wide enough to meet the BC requirement of accommodating a 14-horse field, and Del Mar's traditional summertime racing dates when the Breeders' Cup is always held in the fall.
DMTC President and General Manager Joe Harper points out that studies have shown widening of the turf course is eminently possible. And Gluckson states a precedent for solving the dates problem.
"Del Mar would have to work out a trade of a few racing days with Oak Tree at Santa Anita, like Gulfstream Park has worked out with Calder when the Breeders' Cup has been in Florida," Gluckson said. "I think it's very doable."
The Breeders' Cup is scheduled for Lonestar Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, next year and there are agreements in place or in the process of being completed for Breeders' Cup host sites through 2007.