The Breeders’ Cup will no longer use the services of the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau for security at the World Championships, beginning with this year’s event Nov. 4-5 at Churchill Downs.
Dora Delgado, senior vice president, racing and nominations for Breeders’ Cup, said the organization is forming a three-tiered approach to handling security that involves Breeders’ Cup, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, and G4S Secure Solutions, an international security company retained by the organization.
Previously, Breeders’ Cup security was handled by the Big Event Team from the TRPB, a division of the Thoroughbred Racing Associations.
“What we found was that the Breeders’ Cup would have one agenda, the racing commission would have a different agenda, and the Big Event Team would have an agenda and they rarely worked altogether in sync,” Delgado said. “We managed to get it done but it really wasn’t the level of security we wanted for a championship event. By building a team from the ground up, we would have a more cohesive unit that would all communicate better and would be clear chain of command from top to down.”
Delgado said the TRPB team “did a great job for us.” But, she said, having the security handled within Breeders’ Cup, G4S, and the respective racing commission where the World Championships are taking place, would provide a “clear chain of command, a clear hierarchy, and everybody is working off the same set of protocols and same set of responsibilities. It’s a better unit.”
Where the TRPB previously provided 15-18 investigators, with host tracks also employing other security personnel stationed at each barn, 60 officers from G4S will be assigned this year to Breeders’ Cup participants. In addition, Breeders’ Cup is independently retaining the services of 10 investigators who previously were on site as part of the TRPB team; the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission also is adding additional investigators.
Delgado said that under the new security framework, security personnel assigned to barns will do more than just prevent outsiders from entering the facility, essentially the main role of supplemental barn security in the past.
“They have provided security for barns but it has been more of just keeping people out,” Delgado said. “What we are attempting to do is actually log activity in the barn. These officers will be noting veterinarian visits, people coming in and out of the barn. They are going to check licenses. It’s a stronger set of protocols that are being drafted by the KHRC. They did a fine job of providing security for the barns, but it was not equine security.”
Delgado acknowledged that one reason for wanting to ramp up Breeders’ Cup security is the current emphasis on medication and integrity issues. She said the best way to assure the public that the World Championships are above board is to have an enhanced security system in place.
"With all of the medication issues going on, with all of the questions about cheaters—we all firmly believe that is an overstated case--but we also understand that the only way to reassure people that isn’t happening is to show them that we take it very seriously and we have peopleon the ground and they are watching for that very thing," Delgado said.
Chris Scherf, TRA’s executive vice president, declined to comment on the Breeders’ Cup decision.