Conflicts with the Future Farmers of America and Notre Dame football have delayed by a year the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships' return to Churchill Downs. The Louisville track, which was to hold the event in 2005, is now expected to be host to the event in 2006.
Belmont Park was named as the likely host in 2005.
Initially, Churchill Downs was schedule to host the championship Nov. 5, 2005, but the date got bounced because NBC Sports has a commitment to televise a Notre Dame football game. The date was moved to Oct. 29, which worked for NBC but put the event in the middle of a four-day Future Farmers of America convention.
"After conferring with Churchill Downs management, we concur that, due to limited hotel accommodations, the Breeders' Cup cannot be held in Louisville in 2005," said Breeders' Cup president D.G. Van Clief Jr. "Our intention is to run there in 2006. Meanwhile, we have approached senior management at the New York Racing Association to begin considering Belmont Park as our first preference for 2005."
"We're honored to be considered," said Terry Meyocks, president of NYRA, said in a statement. "The Breeders' Cup has become the most important day in racing worldwide." Belmont Park last was host to the championships in 2001.
According to the Greater Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, the metropolitan area has about 17,000 "reasonably-priced" hotel rooms. The room count includes southern Indiana. The Breeders' Cups held at Churchill Downs have been among to most successful with an average attendance of 73,121.