USA Today Deal Provides Lots of Ink for Cup

The Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships is well-represented in the Oct. 24 edition of USA Today with a four-page preview insert in the sports section that includes five stories, fields for the eight races, and selections by Turf writers and handicappers.

The section is anchored by an advertisement for National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Breeders' Cup sponsors that takes up a third of a page, and a full-page ad that lists wagering outlets in the United States and Canada.

The package is part of a relationship that began four years ago. The first two years, the NTRA actually purchased the pages. This year and last, the NTRA paid for the ads, and USA Today provided the news copy.

"It's all part of a large year-round package we have with them," said Chip Tuttle, a partner in Conover Tuttle, the Massachusetts firm that handles some media functions for the NTRA and Breeders' Cup. "Some of it is hospitality -- USA Today will be entertaining some of its guests and clients at Arlington Park on Breeders' Cup Day."

The lead story on jockey Mike Smith's comeback features a large color photo of Smith aboard The Tin Man, one of eight horses in the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf. Other stories are on War Emblem being made the favorite for the Classic; European shippers at Arlington, where the Cup will be held; trainer Robert Frankel's record in the Cup; and Azeri's chances to earn a Horse of the Year award should she win the Distaff.