Louisville Magazine

Breeders Cup 2018

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12 BREEDERS' CUP #BC18 ONE CONSTANT FOR THE BREEDERS' CUP OVER 35 YEARS: CHANGE The Breeders' Cup, Churchill Downs and the city have all seen a few changes since the World Championships first came to Louisville. By Tom Pedulla ◊ irty years have passed since the Breeders' Cup World Champi- onships were first held at Churchill Downs, enough time to so dramatically enhance the event, track, and town that fans may barely recognize them. In substance and style, the Breeders' Cup is radically different since it was first showcased beneath the iconic twin spires in 1988. en, there were seven races in one day totaling $10 million as the Cup took necessary baby steps following its inception in 1984. Now, double the number of races, which are held over two days, and triple the mon- ey at stake in purses and awards. Wow, has the baby grown! And, as organizers are fond of saying, the best is yet to come. "We constantly strive to keep im- proving the product, keep improving the experience," says Dora Delgado, Breeders' Cup senior vice president for racing and nominations. e betting public clearly approves of the sweeping changes. Total handle was $44,708,399 in 1988. When Churchill Downs hosted for the eighth and most recent time in 2011, total handle reached $52,095,202 for Friday alone and a whopping $109,417,665 on Saturday. Huge steps were taken in 2007 as part of what Delgado calls an "incred- ible journey" with the introduction of the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series and the move to two days, Friday and Sat- urday. e Challenge Series stemmed from the willingness of Cup officials to respond to those they serve. "It was a fundamental request by stallion nominators and the people that were going to support the program early on that they wanted a year-round stakes program," says Delgado. No one anticipated that the "Win Photo of Churchill Downs c.1875 (courtesy of Churchill Downs).

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