Breeders' Cup may not return to Churchill Downs - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Breeders' Cup may not return to Churchill Downs

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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Breeders' Cup officials have not yet picked a site to host the 2014 race, but local news source "Insider Louisville" reported it may never return to Churchill Downs.

In an online article for Insider Louisville, journalist Mark Coomes wrote "several well-placed sources tell Insider Louisville that the self-proclaimed world championships of thoroughbred horse racing are unlikely to return to Churchill Downs. Ever." Coomes went on to say, "no one is saying that rumors of the Cup's relocation are incorrect."

That article was published on June 7. On June 10, Jim Gluckson, a representative for Breeders' Cup, released a statement to respond to the rumors, saying:

"Breeders' Cup will not be commenting on its 2014 host-site selection until the process is complete. There will be an official announcement in the near future. Breeders' Cup values its longstanding partnership with Churchill Downs and the gracious hospitality it has received from the greater Louisville community over the years. Any speculation to the effect that Churchill Downs would not be considered as a future host of the Breeders' Cup World Championships is inaccurate."

Churchill Downs' officials did not reply to our request for a response on this topic.

Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California will host the Breeders' Cup this fall for the second year in a row. The race was held at Churchill Downs in 2010 and 2011.

The article on Insider Louisville made a point to say that the Downs has drawn record crowds and wagering during its recent years of hosting the event. It also speculates that The Stronach Group, which owns several racetracks, including Santa Anita Park, is bidding to move the race away from Churchill Downs. Coomes wrote that it's believed The Stronach Group "cut the Breeders' Cup an especially sweet deal."

Just the thought of the marquee championships never returning to Louisville is unsettling to those close to the sport. David Vance, a horse trainer with 50 years of experience, doesn't think the race should be held anywhere else. "The best horses are in Kentucky: they breed the best horses in Kentucky, they sell all the yearlings in Kentucky," he says. "Why wouldn't it be common sense that they'd have the premiere race once out of every four or five years in Kentucky?"

Jay Hubbard, a fan of the sport, shares the same view. "It would be a shame because (when) you think of Kentucky you think of horse racing and the Bluegrass state," says Hubbard.

Horse trainer Ian Wilkes says never having the race at Churchill again would have a negative impact on the local economy. "It's going to hit Louisville. It's a great income for hotels, retail (and) restaurants," he says.

With the rumors only partially quashed, speculation will surely continue until an official announcement comes from Breeders' Cup officials regarding the site of the 2014 race.

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