CounterPoint: California the place for Breeders’ Cup

In the 39-year history of the Breeders’ Cup the event has been held in two different countries, seven different states and at 12 different tracks. In the last 15 years however the championship series has only been held in Kentucky or California.

While there is nothing wrong with using venues in just these two states, I would propose that two is one too many. California is the best site for a number of reasons.

Let the sunshine in: The November average precipitation level in California is lower than any of the other locations. This best ensures the chances of a beautiful day for the fans, but most importantly a fast track and a fair turf course. Along with the near certainty of moderate November temperatures it should present the best chances for optimum racing conditions.

Timing is everything: Holding the key races between 1:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on the West Coast presents a number of positives. First, the races won’t bump up against the plethora of early afternoon or prime time college football games. Second, the East Coast tracks would have the flexibility of running their entire card without having to compete with the key Breeders’ Cup races.

Third, casual racing fans and the general public are used to dinnertime posts for the Triple Crown events so this evening showcase will not be unique.

One side note here. If I were king of the racing world, no U. S. tracks would run concurrently with the biggest Breeders’ Cup races.


In its first two decades, the Breeders’ Cup took the best of racing to venues all over the U. S. and in Canada, and Frank Vespe argues that a return to that would benefit the sport as a whole.


The Breeders’ Cup should find one permanent home, Mike Valiante argues, and that should be in Southern California, where better weather and other factors promote a better product.

Aloha West
Aloha West was up in time to upset the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Photo Shamela Hanley/Breeders’ Cup/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM.

Shipshape: Japan’s success in last year’s Breeders’ Cup was not, in my opinion, an anomaly. Los Angeles is about 1,200 miles closer to Tokyo via airplane than is New York, making that hop a little bit faster and easier for an event billing itself a “world championship.”

California Dreaming: The event could alternate between Santa Anita and Del Mar so that complacency from having one permanent location would not set in. Also, although I would have never said this as recently as ten years ago, racing in California is in danger. If it ceases to exist there you can add it to regions like Chicago and New England where thoroughbred racing barely exists. The Breeders’ Cup would help provide some lifeblood to the region.

When you add it all up, parking the Breeders’ Cup in Southern California provides the highest upside for the future of the sport.