The Breeders' Cup is still the Breeders' Cup. But it will fall under a new brand name -- the World Thoroughbred Championships -- in an attempt to increase consumer awareness of racing's divisions and its championship day each fall.
The new name, in the works for more than six months, was to have been announced June 26 during a press conference in New York City. When the championship is run Oct. 27 at Belmont Park, it will be called the "Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships."
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Breeders' Cup, which now operate jointly, also announced:
--An agreement in principle to create a strategic alliance with the Emirates World Series, which features international events for older horses. Some races in the series would air as part of the "Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships" on the ESPN network of channels.
--In a three-year, seven-figure deal, Bessemer Trust Co., headquartered in New York, has signed on as title sponsor of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and the "Bessemer Trust Two-Year-Old Challenge," a seven-race series to be telecast in September and October on CNBC. A $1-million bonus will be offered to a horse that wins a series event, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, and the following Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
--The "Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships" will begin June 30 and extend through Oct. 26 with a Breeders' Cup preview show. Jim Kelly, the voice of the America's Cup and ESPN golf, will serve as anchor and spokesman for the series, while Kenny Mayne of ESPN will be featured in a promotional campaign that will debut in late July.
--Bessemer Trust, started by members of the Phipps family in the early 1900s, is a financial institution that manages about $31 billion for more than 1,400 clients. Its chairman is Stuart S, Janney III, chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. Ogden (Dinny) Phipps is a prominent horse owner and NTRA board member.
--The NTRA and Breeders' Cup hope the sponsorship program, which includes advertising, on-track signage, hospitality at top racing events, and preferred access to breeders and owners, catches on with other companies. Officials couldn't be reached to comment on other candidates.
--Host Communications of Lexington, hired by the NTRA/Breeders' Cup earlier this year, is charged with marketing the World Thoroughbred Championships.
D.G. Van Clief Jr., president of Breeders' Cup and vice chairman of the NTRA, said he hopes the Bessemer deal is the first of many. There is no timetable, though, for further announcements.
"We think we are quite close with at least one other corporation, and perhaps as many as three corporations, signing on," Van Clief said.
Related Announcements:World Thoroughbred Championships Questions and AnswersWorld Thoroughbred Championships, Emirates in Strategic PartnershipBessemer Trust to Sponsor Juvenile SeriesRoad to the World Thoroughbred Championships Schedule Released