File Photo

BC Loses Sponsor; Hopeful for Others

Breeders' Cup has lost a longtime sponsor in Bessemer Trust.

Breeders’ Cup has lost a longtime sponsor in Bessemer Trust but has fielded interest from other companies in the financial services sector.

Breeders’ Cup chief marketing officer Peter Land confirmed Jan. 26 that Bessemer Trust, which in 2008 sponsored the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, both grade I events, would not return for 2009. The sponsorship contract expired at the end of 2008.

“(Bessemer Trust) chose not to renew,” Land said. “We obviously wish them well and hope to reconnect with them in the future. They were a terrific sponsor; they were with us for eight years.”

No other sponsors from last year have left the fold, Land said. A few European-focused financial services companies with offices in the United States are among those that have shown interest in a World Championships sponsorship, he said.

Land said sponsorship goals for 2009 will reflect the current economic climate. In that regard, finding a title sponsor—an objective of two years ago—is not a goal this year, he said.

“If someone were to call me tomorrow, I think we’d consider it,” Land said. “But given the economic environment, it’s not something we see as likely.”

Last year, Breeders' Cup lost Dodge, sponsor of the Classic (gr. I) and Classic Division. Its 2008 race sponsors were Bessemer Trust, Emirates Airline, Grey Goose, Sentient Flight Group, and TVG.

Breeders’ Cup scheduled a full board of members and trustees meeting for Feb. 4 to gather input on the proposed 2009 budget and other issues related to the economic downturn and its potential impact on the organization and the racing and breeding industries.

Maintaining sponsors is a challenge throughout the racing industry as companies feel the financial crunch. Keeneland, which trimmed $600,000 from its spring stakes schedule this year, lost Ashland Inc. and Stonerside, director of communications Jim Williams said.