The Breeders' Cup Forum: Fravel on Medication Policy, Site Selection - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

The Breeders’ Cup Forum: Fravel on Medication Policy, Site Selection

Craig Fravel

A ban on race-day medication for 2-year-olds was approved by the Breeders' Cup board of directors just as Craig Fravel was joining the organization as its new president and chief executive officer in July 2011. The policy, which was to prohibit the use of the anti-bleeding diuretic furosemide (Lasix), went into effect for the 2012 championships and was to expand to all championship races in 2013 – a move that was reversed earlier this year after protests from trainers and threat of a lawsuit from one prominent owner.  The drug will be allowed in all Breeders' Cup races in 2014.

The ban was in effect for 2013 Breeders' Cup day 2-year-old races, and results of post-race endoscopic examination of a majority of the participating horses found surprising results – namely, that a higher percentage of 2-year-olds racing with Lasix in non-Breeders' Cup races suffered exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage than Breeders' Cup runners did while racing without the diuretic that is designed to reduce EIPH. For details on the results of that study, click here.

In part two of an interview, Fravel discusses medication policy, the site selection process, and Breeders' Cup revenue.

Will race-day medication rules be revisited as part of the 2015 site selection process?
If we learned any lessons from past experience it is that we have to work collaboratively with horsemen in order to make progress on medication issues.  We are quite pleased with progress made on the uniform medication rules over the last six months and hope the work done in connection with our observational study contributes to ongoing positive conversations about improvements on the medication front as well as suggesting areas for future research.

What is the timeline for site selection in 2015 and beyond?
The Breeders' Cup has been working with Engage Brand Strategies to help in enhancing our site-selection process.  The principals of Engage were a big part of the recent NASCAR strategic planning process and have been working with us for the last several months meeting with interested potential host sites and, more importantly, reaching out to important constituents of the Breeders' Cup for their feedback.  That will be a process that will continue during the first quarter of 2014.

What associations have made bids for 2015?
I think the world is pretty well aware of interest expressed by Churchill Downs, Del Mar, and Santa Anita as far as 2015 is concerned.  Engage will also be talking with some other tracks as part of the review we are engaged in so there may be other candidates for future years as well.

From a Breeders' Cup revenue standpoint, what percentage of revenue comes from handle, from nominations, entry fees, etc., from ticketing and championship revenue, and from marketing partners? And where is the biggest potential for growth?
The largest source of Breeders' Cup revenue is wagering activity with approximately 10 percent of overall revenues in 2013 derived from wagering at Santa Anita and throughout the Southern California simulcast and ADW network.  Another 25 percent of revenues come from simulcasting both within North America and internationally.  Obviously our wagering public is a vital part of the success of the Breeders' Cup and we continually search for ways to boost handle whether through cross promotions with ADW partners or special event participation at brick and mortar simulcast sites.  As I mentioned the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge has been a tremendous source of growth and we look to expand upon that with our new marketing partnership with the Daily Racing Form.

When we talk Breeders' Cup we cannot forget our nominators who contributed approximately 30 percent of total revenues in 2013.  While that number has declined dramatically since 2006 with the challenges in the breeding community, we are hopeful that the recent success of sales in Kentucky and overseas will lead to renewed growth in the breeding business, which is why the Breeders' Cup exists, after all.  We continue to more than hold our own in nominations as a percentage of total foal crop, and receive nominations from 95 percent of commercial stallions that stand for $5,000 or more.

Entry fees at 11.4 percent, ticketing revenues at 16.2 percent, and marketing partnerships at 5.8 percent round out the other major revenue components.  We certainly expect to see growth in the sponsorship area as an outgrowth of our brand enhancement program focusing on the Breeders' Cup as an international luxury brand and our partnership with NBC Sports.

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