Churchill Downs will not host Breeders Cup in 2008 or possibly 2009

Posted by Jennifer Karlen on Sunday, February 8th, 2009 at 7:44pm.

The Louisville KY newspaper The Courier-Journal reports in the October 27 2007 edition, that Churchill Downs racetrack may no longer host the Breeders Cup World Championships.

Churchill Downs has hosted the Breeders Cup World Championships a record 6 times - and has gathered the championship’s largest attendance in 5 of those 6 years, including most recently in 2006.

But when the bidding came for the 2008 event, Churchill Downs didn’t even make a bid to be host for next year’s competition. And taking it a step further, Churchill Downs has not indicated any interest in hosting it for 2009 either.

Officials for Churchill Downs in Louisville Kentucky have complained that their racetrack gets so little money from the event, that its not worth the effort of being host.

This puts an interesting spin on the Breeders Cup organization that is based in Lexington Kentucky. Currently, there are state tax breaks for the organization for having a business headquarters in Kentucky, and holding the event regularly in KY. But if its not hosted in Kentucky by 2009, legislators will be forced to remove the tax benefits that the organization is currently receiving.

This places the event and organization in somewhat of a peculiar position. Churchill Downs has indicated that if they shared in a greater portion of the proceeds, then they would be interested in hosting the event possibly again in the future.

The 2007 Breeders Cup Championship is currently going on in currently in Monmouth Park in New Jersey. The 2008 Breeders Cup Championship will be at Santa Anita Park in southern California.

At this point, no other track has complained about their split from the track proceeds.

Hopefully the differences will be worked out. The Breeders Cup Championship is one of the big horse events in Kentucky, and it going to other states is a real shame for the entire horse community.