Breeders' Cup Launches New Marketing Campaign

Virtual ownership, consumer promotion, and TV coverage are among new initiatives.

Building on 2011 record levels of consumer awareness for its flagship asset, the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I), the Breeders’ Cup is launching a series of marketing activities highlighting the Classic, Classic contenders, and Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win And You’re In” division races, Breeders’ Cup announced July 6.

The campaign includes a racetrack-focused consumer promotion encouraging fans to “own” a share of the winners of Breeders’ Cup Classic Challenge races, expanded television coverage of those races, a dedicated web presence and social media campaign, and branding supporting the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

"This initiative to focus on the Classic is a product of our strategic planning and also an effort to build on the public attention that Zenyatta brought to last year’s event,” said Tom Ludt, chairman of Breeders’ Cup Limited, in a statement. “We want to promote the Breeders' Cup Classic to a broader audience of casual racing fans and give them tools to follow the top contenders from now through November.”

The campaign begins with the Hollywood Gold Cup on July 9 when fans will get a “chance to own a champion” via the Breeders’ Cup Classic Ownership Challenge, Fans attending the Hollywood Gold Cup and the remaining challenge races can enter to become virtual owners of the winners of those races. If one of those horses goes on to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic, its virtual ownership syndicate will share in a $250,000 cash prize.

"The Challenge Classic ownership program is a great way to get local fans involved in the process of virtual ownership of a racehorse and provides them with a rooting interest that carries them through the Breeders' Cup Classic,” said Bill Knauf, assistant general manager of Monmouth Park, in a release. “We look forward to our fans having this unique opportunity as part of Haskell day.”

The six Classic Challenge races will be nationally televised with five on ESPN and ABC as part of the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Classic Challenge presented by Emirates Airline.

"While avid racing fans both here and around the world appreciate the championship implications of our event across several divisions, we needed to do more to raise the profile of the Classic and its consistent position as the world's pre-eminent race,” said Carter Carnegie, Breeders’ Cup senior vice president of sales, in a statement. “The Classic will serve as a gateway to introduce our event and its divisions to new racing fans. We are fortunate that Emirates and other sponsors have worked with us to provide national television coverage on ABC and ESPN and that the Whitney (gr. I) from Saratoga will be on Versus as part of NYRA's ‘Summer From Saratoga Series,’ allowing us to showcase these key races.”

In addition to the promotion and expanded television schedule, the Breeders’ Cup created targeted advertising promoting the Classic series and ownership promotion as well as a dedicated website, The site will feature information about the Classic Challenge races and the road leading up to the Classic, including an “Eight in the Gate” section written by network television analyst Randy Moss that will provide insight on the eight remaining spots for the Classic race and the horses to watch.

Launched originally in 2007, the Breeders’ Cup Challenge provides automatic entry to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships to winning horses. New this year are complimentary entry fees and travel stipends for Challenge winners.