LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The latest fatal injury to a thoroughbred at Santa Anita raises speculation about the future of the Breeders’ Cup.
Twenty-seven horses have died at Santa Anita in less than six months.
Churchill Downs said it is ready to host again if racing at Santa Anita is deemed too risky.
“If they had an accident at Santa Anita, my God, the publicity would be off the charts,” WAVE 3 News contributor Billy Reed said. “There’s a movement in California right now to ban thoroughbred racing.”
By comparison, there were 36 deaths on all Kentucky tracks in all of 2018. That was at a rate higher than the national average. There were 24 deaths in 2018 at Churchill Downs.
"The Breeders' Cup team knows we're available to step up and host if we're ever needed," Churchill spokesman Darren Rogers said.
For the city of Louisville, the return of the Breeders' Cup for the second straight year would be an economic gift.
Breeders’ Cup visitors spent $50 million when Churchill Downs hosted last year.
The digital buzz could be even more valuable.
“Your media mentions and all the uptick you see in social media...really helps your branding,” Deana Karem, Greater Louisville Inc. Sr. VP of Regional Economic Growth, said. “So our community works a lot on our community branding. What do we look like to the rest of the world so we can attract business and talent?”
There has been no word on when a decision could be made, or if the Breeders’ Cup is seriously looking elsewhere.