Breeders' Cup Impact Goes Far Beyond Purses

The financial implications of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships -- before, during, and after the event -- are huge, speakers said Oct. 29 during a seminar sponsored by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association at Lone Star Park.

Purses for the Oct. 30 Breeders' Cup at Lone Star will hover in the $14-million range. But the rate of return on investment -- how much money goes into a horse before the purse check is collected -- could be about 35%, said Andre Regard, who specializes in equine law and operates Occidental Thoroughbreds, a Central Kentucky bloodstock business.

"The good news about the Breeders' Cup is it does a great thing for the industry," Regard said. "It gives a platform for the racing industry to project itself to the public."

Regard said winners of the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) are worth no less than $3 million when it comes to stallion deals. The impact on the female side is substantial as well, he said. The average price for fillies and mares that won Cup races and were sold thereafter is $2 million, he said.

Regard did other research that shows for the 2004 Breeders' Cup, one-third of the entrants are home-breds, one-third were purchased privately, and one-third were bought at auction. (One other horse was claimed.) All of the eight horses in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) were sold at auction, as were 80% of the horses in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). Meanwhile, of the 44 horses entered in the three turf races, only four were purchased at sales.

Regard said that's a reflection on the commercial market, which wants precocious horses. Breeders, therefore, follow suit.

Dave Hooper, executive director of the Texas Thoroughbred Association, discussed the founding of Lone Star Park and how landing a Breeders' Cup was always in management's long-range plans. A state law rebated $2 million in tax money to Lone Star to help facilitate improvements necessary for the track to serve as the 2004 host site.

Jack Knowlton, managing partner of Sackatoga Stable, which owns Classic hopeful Funny Cide, told the story of the New York-bred gelding that won the 2003 Kentucky Derby (gr. I). Despite the typical ups and downs associated with racehorse ownership, Knowlton said it doesn't get much better, and that he expects Funny Cide to do well in this year's Classic.

Last year, at Santa Anita Park, Funny Cide was roughed up early in the Classic and wasn't a factor.

"I think the horse we'll see (Oct. 30) will be the real Funny Cide, not the horse that ran in last year's Breeders' Cup."

Other speakers at the TOBA seminar were owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, trainer Dale Romans, owner Jack Smith III, and trainer Mike Stidham.