The Breeders’ Cup will not return to the Bluegrass in 2019.
Rather than avoid the Santa Anita Park deathtrap, the Breeders’ Cup board unanimously voted to keep the richest two days in horse racing at Santa Anita this fall.
Santa Anita’s spring meet made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Between Dec. 26 and the meet’s end last week, 30 horses died. The sharp increase forced the track to shut down for most of the month of March to investigate the problem.
Since then, Santa Anita enacted a variety of measures to improve safety at the track. Even so, the PR hit has taken its toll. The Breeders’ Cup weighed the pros and cons, but ultimately decided the negative PR and potential legal battle with the Stronach Group, the owner/operators of Santa Anita, was not enough to make the move to Churchill Downs.
Held on Nov. 1-2, this year the event falls on a Kentucky football bye week. It was too good to be true. Instead of enjoying a weekend at Churchill Downs, we’ll receive a week of stories leading into the event about Santa Anita’s problems. Hopefully that’s the only crisis horsemen face the first week of November.