'If You Build It, We Will Come': Breeders' Cup Commits To Belmont Return If Track Is Modernized - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

‘If You Build It, We Will Come’: Breeders’ Cup Commits To Belmont Return If Track Is Modernized

Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.

We Are NY Horse Racing, a coalition of small businesses, labor unions, nonprofits, trade associations, and other groups that support the sport of horse racing in New York, has announced that the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) has secured a commitment to bring the Breeders' Cup World Championship back to New York if Belmont Park on Long Island is modernized.

Thoroughbred horse racing's year-end mega event, the Breeders' Cup is a two-day spectacle that attracts fans and competitors from around the globe. Due to aging infrastructure at Belmont Park, the World Championships have not been hosted in New York since 2005.

Bringing the event back to Belmont would result in an estimated economic impact of at least $100 million each time the event is hosted in New York.

“New York is the ultimate global stage, and the new Belmont Park will be an ideal location to regularly host the Breeders' Cup,” said NYRA President & CEO Dave O'Rourke. “The Breeders' Cup is one of the great events in sports, and as we all saw over the weekend, the enthusiasm and energy around the Breeders' Cup continues to grow. We thank our friends at the Breeders' Cup for recognizing the opportunities that lie ahead here in New York and look forward to advancing this transformational project in the coming months.”

According to a recent study, horse racing in New York State is responsible for 19,000 jobs in every corner of the state. The Saratoga summer meet generates nearly $240 million in annual economic impact and is critically important to the Upstate tourism and hospitality sectors, with this year's Saratoga summer meet marking the seventh consecutive year with paid attendance exceeding one million.

The 2022 Breeders' Cup World Championships, which were conducted at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky, from November 4-5, generated record breaking all-sources wagering handle of $189 million. Keeneland and the City of Lexington welcomed more than 85,000 racing fans over the course of the two-day event, which received comprehensive national and international coverage from the networks of NBC Sports. Although the event has not been held at Belmont Park for nearly two decades, New York-based trainers, owners and jockeys played a central role in the competition.

The Thoroughbred racing mega event rotates through North America's most prestigious and historic horse racing venues and was previously hosted by the Empire State in 1990, 1995, 2001, and 2005.

In 2005, however, the Breeders' Cup raised concerns with Belmont Park's aging infrastructure — which is not heated or winterized — and determined that Belmont no longer possessed the hospitality offerings needed to support the event. As a result, Belmont was removed from the rotating list of tracks that host the event. Since then, the Breeders' Cup has been held at Churchill Downs and Keeneland in Kentucky, Santa Anita Park and Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in California, and Monmouth Park in New Jersey.

This commitment from the Breeders' Cup would add New York back into the rotation to host the World Championships, regularly bringing the event to Belmont Park for years to come.

Read the letter from the Breeders' Cup here: Breeders-Cup-Letter-November-2022

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