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DEL MAR TO HOST BREEDERS’ CUP IN ’17
It would be track’s first running of championship event

Ed Zieralski - The Union Tribune 

For the first time, Del Mar will host the Breeders’ Cup World Championships in 2017, according to industry sources.The Breeders’ Cup is a weeklong event that culminates with 13 world championship races split over two days. Along with the Triple Crown races, the Breeders’ Cup is considered one of the sport’s premier events. Del Mar Thoroughbred Club officials referred all inquiries to the Lexington, Ky.-based Breeders’ Cup LTD, which declined comment until an announcement is made on Tuesday. That’s when Breeders’ Cup officials will detail a three-year rotation for host sites for thoroughbred racing’s two-day championships, with Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., hosting in 2015, Santa Anita Park in Arcadia in 2016 and Del Mar in 2017.

“It is Breeders’ Cup policy not to discuss or comment on future host site selection until an official announcement has been made,” the Breeders’ Cup said in a statement this week. “We look forward to providing news regarding future host site selection for the World Championships at that time.”

The exact dates of the 2017 event are still to be determined but the Breeders’ Cup is typically run sometime in late October or early November.

Del Mar had been penciled in as the 2016 host, but Breeders’ Cup officials didn’t want to go to two new venues backto- back. Santa Anita, which will host the Breeders’ Cup Oct. 31-Nov. 1 this year for a record-tying eighth time, will serve as a buffer between the two sites that will host for the first time.

Santa Anita announced Thursday that there will be a “Breakfast on the Breeders’ Cup” at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday to hear the announcementof a “three-year plan for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships that includes The Great Race Place.” Tracks were instructed not to discuss the announcement until Monday, but Santa Anita officialsjumpedthegunto promote the news and the breakfast at Clocker’s Corner.

If last year’s Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita is any guide, San Diego County can expect substantial dividends from a race that draws global attention. The two-day Novemberevent drew nearly 95,000 attendees, roughly two-thirds of whom came from outside California, according to an analysis prepared by Tourism Economics, a consulting firm.

That amounts to $39.5 million in direct spending, on everything from lodging and food and beverages to racetrack admissions and wagering. The event also directly generated 368 jobs, primarily in the areas of lodging, food and beverage, and recreation and entertainment. State and local tax proceeds totaled nearly $5 million.

Of course, those numbers were generated in the Los Angeles area, not San Diego. Last year, Del Mar drew almost 50,000 fans for its opening- day race and would likely eclipse that for the Breeders’ Cup.

Officials here are hopeful that the 2017 event will have a significant economic impact on the San Diego area. MikeMcDowell, president of the San Diego Sports Commission, likened the week to a “Breeders’ Cup Festival” that will showcase San Diego’s wide range of entertainment and recreation venues.

“We want them to see it as a Sunday to Sunday event,” McDowell said, adding that late October and early November is a slow time for local hotels and restaurants.

Earlier, Joe Harper, president and CEO of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, said he was confident Del Mar would be chosen because of its luxury boxes and suites that could handle larger corporate groups for the Breeders’ Cup. Harper said Del Mar’s hotels can accommodate the thousands of people who would come to San Diego for the event. That was an important selling point that the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club used to pitch the venue to Breeders’ Cup officials.