Belmont Park hosted its most recent Breeders' Cup in 2005.

Belmont Park hosted its most recent Breeders' Cup in 2005.

Anne M. Eberhardt

NYRA: BC Needs Belmont, Rotation of Tracks

NYRA wants to host the 2011 Breeders' Cup, officials said in an April 15 letter.

New York Racing Association officials have asked Breeders’ Cup to consider Belmont Park as the 2011 host site for the World Championships, and also said they believe a three- or four-track rotation best serves the event held each fall.

The letter to Breeders’ Cup chairman Bill Farish from NYRA chairman Steve Duncker and chief executive officer and president Charles Hayward is dated April 15 and was sent to the other 12 members of the Breeders’ Cup board of directors. It was e-mailed to members of the media April 16.

The letter states NYRA wants to “go on the record so (Breeders’ Cup) is fully informed about NYRA’s position on and deep interest in hosting the Breeders’ Cup. The management and the board of NYRA want to engage (Breeders’ Cup) in a discussion that will result in Belmont Park hosting the 2011 Breeders’ Cup event.”

The letter claims New York is the “media capital of the country,” and that Belmont has the right facility to accommodate the World Championships, four of which have been held at the Long Island racetrack.

“NYRA also believes that the Breeders’ Cup event should rotate among three or four racetracks in North America, and that Belmont Park should be included in this rotation,” the letter states. “NYRA believes that moving the Breeders’ Cup to a single location, particularly in Southern California and (on) Santa Anita’s artificial racing surface, imposes a severe hardship on horsemen and racing customers.”

Churchill Downs will host this year’s two-day World Championships, but no host site has been announced for 2011 and beyond. There have been indications Breeders’ Cup is leaning toward staging the event at one location—probably Santa Anita, which hosted it the last two years—for a period of five to 10 years, though Farish and others have said no final decision has been made.

The NYRA officials also said not having the Breeders’ Cup in New York “would clearly marginalize” the fall stakes program at Belmont.

The Breeders’ Cup board of directors is scheduled to meet April 22 in Lexington to further discuss host sites and a long-term strategic plan. It's not clear whether a host-site decision will be made at that meeting.

NYRA is in the midst of a fiscal crisis, having let go 12 staffers and threatening to make other cuts. The organization, which operates Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga, is awaiting revenue from a stalled video lottery terminal project at Aqueduct, and also is short roughly $15 million owed it from bankrupt New York City Off-Track Betting Corp.