Officials from Lone Star Park, along with local and state officials from Texas, made their pitch Thursday morning in Lexington to bring the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. By all accounts, Breeders' Cup and National Thoroughbred Racing Association officials were impressed.
Meanwhile, the site for the 2002 championship event "is still up in the air," Breeders' Cup president D.G. Van Clief Jr. said. Oak Tree Racing Association at Santa Anita Park is officially out, while Arlington Park remains a candidate to host its first Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.
Van Clief said the Texas contingent, which included Lone Star chairman Robert Kaminski, president Corey Johnsen, and Texas Sen. David Cain, covered all issues taken into consideration for site selection. Van Clief called the presentation, made before the executive committee, "very professional and very well-received."
Damon Thayer, director of marketing for the Breeders' Cup, said the presentation was "informative and comprehensive. It's too early to say when Lone Star might be awarded the (event), but the executive committee was very impressed."
Financial incentives from the state will become available in 2004 in Texas, so that's probably the earliest Lone Star could host the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. Breeders' Cup has said 2003 will be the first year a track that hasn't served as a host for the event will have a chance to do so.
Arlington surfaced as a candidate for 2002 only after Magna Entertainment, which owns Santa Anita, said construction at the track was a priority. Oak Tree holds its fall meet at the Arcadia, Calif., racetrack.
Van Clief said a decision on the 2002 host site will be made as quickly as possible. Other racetracks that have hosted the event remain in the running for 2002, he said. New York's Belmont Park will host this year's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships Oct. 27.