Breeders' Cup, 'Tour' to Consider Joint Venture

The Breeders' Cup and Thoroughbred Championship Tour are discussing a potential joint venture that would have to be in place within 45 days under an agreement reached April 22, a Breeders' Cup official said.

The Breeders' Cup board of directors met April 22 for its regular meeting, at which the TCT, a proposed series of televised big-event days that would bridge the Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, was the primary focus. The two sides have been negotiating for at least the past few days.

The TCT, proposed in 2001, is a product of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. It would be a for-profit series in which participating racehorse owners would invest and have equity. Revenue would be generated by television rights and a percentage of pari-mutuel handle at participating racetracks.

Breeders' Cup president D.G. Van Clief Jr. said a subcommittee would be reformed to study the situation "with the mission of hammering out the issues so we can move ahead with a common venture." He said the two sides agreed to a 45-day deadline.

Details weren't available, and the structure apparently changed the past few days as negotiations progressed. Under one proposal, Breeders' Cup and the TCT would have equal ownership of the series and contribute an equal amount of funding for a five-year period.

TCT organizers currently are lining up investors with the hope of raising $25 million in start-up funds. (The minimum investment per share is $250,000.) The concept is designed in part to offer owners an opportunity to have input and proprietorship of a business that would showcase their horses.

"A number of proposals are going back and forth," TOBA president Dan Metzger said April 21 before the Breeders' Cup board meeting. "We're still moving along in the process."

In other business, Breeders' Cup will implement a late registration date for foals: Dec. 15 of the foaling year. The late deadline--a 90-day extension--brings with it a fee of $1,500, or three times the usual amount. There was discussion about tweaking stallion registration fees but no action was taken, Van Clief said.