The Breeders' Cup announced March 16 that Jill Byrne has been named to the newly created position of senior director, industry relations.
Byrne will focus on industry relations between Breeders' Cup Limited and its constituents, including nominators, owners, trainers, and sales companies. Her responsibilities will include the promotion and coordination of the Breeders' Cup Challenge series program in the US and Canada. Byrne, working within the Breeders' Cup racing department, will also recruit runners for the Breeders' Cup World Championships from the United States and Canada.
Byrne, who will be based in Lexington, will officially begin her duties May 15.
Byrne comes to the Breeders' Cup from Churchill Downs where she was director of broadcast and programming for the flagship track of Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) for the past nine years.
During this period, Byrne was responsible for the production of the Churchill Downs and Kentucky Derby simulcast and in-venue big board broadcasts. She managed the content creation for the Road to the Kentucky Derby video series and was senior racing analyst and host of the "Churchill Downs Today" show.
Byrne will continue in her Churchill Downs post through the running of the May 6 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1).
"We are fortunate to have selected a very talented, hardworking and known professional in Jill Byrne," said Craig Fravel, Breeders' Cup president and chief executive officer. "This new position will combine Jill's great horsemanship and proven success in developing strong relationships inside and outside Thoroughbred racing. She will be a terrific asset to the Breeders' Cup."
Prior to working at Churchill Downs, Byrne was a host, racing analyst and reporter for TVG.
"I am excited for this wonderful opportunity to join the Breeders' Cup and look forward to working with the many people and organizations in the horse racing industry to continue to promote the sport I am so passionate about," said Byrne. "I am grateful and appreciative for the incredible opportunities that Churchill Downs has provided me and the vast knowledge and experience I have gained by being a part of the Kentucky Derby."
"We wish Jill the best as she moves on to new challenges and opportunities with the Breeders' Cup," said Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs. "We appreciate her years as a very visible representative of our team, the Kentucky Derby, and our industry. Churchill Downs has a strong ongoing partnership with the Breeders' Cup, and we look forward to working with Jill and the entire Breeders' Cup team as the championships return to our track in 2018."