NYRA president and chief executive officer Charles Hayward

NYRA president and chief executive officer Charles Hayward

Anne M. Eberhardt

NYRA, Breeders' Cup Working Toward 2013 Deal

The two organizations would like to see Belmont Park serve as host site.

The New York Racing Association, which was unhappy Breeders’ Cup chose Santa Anita Park over Belmont Park to host the 2012 World Championships, already is in discussions with the organization to be the 2013 host of the event.

Breeders’ Cup publicly named the Southern California track the 2012 host site Aug. 10, though the information had been leaked at least a month prior. The day of the official announcement, NYRA issued a one-sentence statement expressing disappointment.

“We’re disappointed but hope to work something out with these guys,” NYRA president and chief executive officer Charles Hayward said in a follow-up interview Aug. 15. “We’re interested in 2013. We had a brief meeting with (Breeders’ Cup president) Craig Fravel, who I’ve known for 15 years. The purpose of the meeting was to look forward.

“We left our application for 2012 with Breeders’ Cup, which made suggestions on how our bid can be stronger.”

Fravel said Aug. 18 Breeders’ Cup is “very interested in New York for 2013. We had a meeting with Charlie to make sure there was no misunderstanding after the (Santa Anita) announcement and the resulting media conversation. Our relationship with Charlie and his management team is strong.”

Hayward said he didn’t want to reveal details of NYRA’s bid, but he did say the association is committed to making capital improvements at Belmont, something that will be much easier for NYRA when the under-construction video lottery terminal casino at Aqueduct begins operating this fall.

He also noted Churchill Downs in Kentucky and Santa Anita have had success in integrating their communities in the World Championships and coming up with financial incentives for Breeders’ Cup.

“Candidly, given the (financial) state of New York, we didn’t feel we could seek substantial money, but we do have ideas about talking to people with New York City,” Hayward said.

Fravel said there will be follow-up conversations with NYRA, and that Belmont will now have time to plan for any capital improvements that could be made in time for 2013. He also said Breeders’ Cup and NYRA would work with state and local government to find incentives.

Hayward said there is no timetable, but the sooner the better.

“It would be in everybody’s interest if we can resolve it, and do it fairly quickly,” Hayward said. “Ultimately it’s not my decision, and there are differing points of view on different topics, but we have to get this smoothed out and quieted down.”

When asked when Breeders’ Cup hopes to have a 2013 host site selected, Fravel said: “I’d like to have it done by the end of this year.”

New York has hosted the Breeders’ Cup five times: the first time at Aqueduct in 1985— the second year of the event—and at Belmont in 1990, 1995, 2001, and 2005.