BC Officials Still Working on Common Pools

The Breeders' Cup simulcast will be available in about 25 countries this year.

The Breeders’ Cup World Championships will be simulcast in about 25 countries this year, but officials said they continue to work on regulatory issues that are road-blocking common pools in those markets.

The biggest overseas markets for Breeders’ Cup are France, which last year handled about $5.5 million on the two-day event, Great Britain, and Ireland. Other markets that will import the races are Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and Turkey in Europe; Kenya and South Africa in Africa; Singapore in Asia; Australia and New Zealand; Canada and Mexico; and various countries in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.

FalKirk International’s Ken Kirchner, a consultant who oversees wagering for Breeders’ Cup, said the races will be not be offered in Hong Kong in the absence of an agreement. Hong Kong greatly limits the number of races it imports from other countries.

“We have a fairly broad distribution network,” Kirchner said. “One thing lacking is that many sites still offer separate pools. It would be great to offer common pools, but we’re not able to resolve technical issues that would permit it.

“The next stage is to try to get all countries into common pools. It gives their punters more betting value and allows them to bet more money.”

Betfair, the Great Britain-based betting exchange, will offer straight wagering on the World Championships again. Last year Betfair’s exchange handled about $23 million on Cup races.

In the U.S. and Canada, the Breeders’ Cup from Churchill Downs is “completely covered” in the simulcast market. Kirchner said there were no contractual issues this year that would have prevented sites from importing the races.

A day after pre-entries were taken Breeders’ Cup announced changes in the tentative race order for the Nov. 5 program. The TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. I), which attracted a strong field including Goldikova, who is seeking her fourth consecutive victory in the race, was moved to race 10, just before the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I). A few other races were shuffled.

Kirchner said it’s a “collective decision” when races are moved. He said factors are television coverage, wagering attractiveness, sponsorships, and racing-related concerns, such as whether to have back-to-back turf races or race 2-year-olds under the lights.

The Mile was moved because of Goldikova and her attractiveness to the television audience, Kirchner said, noting the race also is strong from a wagering standpoint.

“The nature of Goldikova’s quest for her fourth victory is so special it deserves that billing,” he said.