12/12/2009 1:10PM

Churchill or Bust


The Breeders' Cup board announced Friday that it is "exploring the possibility of using a single host site for all future Breeders' Cup events." Now where oh where could that single site be? By process of elimination, it has to be Churchill Downs.

A permanent relocation to either California or New York would ignite a full-fledged civil war in American racing, with the scorned coast probably turning its back on the Breeders' Cup altogether. Geographically "neutral" sites such as Arlington or Woodbine don't work because they do not have dirt tracks, still the dominant and most appropriate surface on which to determine main-track American championships. So unless someone's going to build a new Breeders' Cup palace, or Hialeah is magically restored to its old glory one day, Churchill is really the only plausible and pragmatic candidate. 

That doesn't mean Churchill might not also be the best choice. Cups there have gone smoothly and the facility already successfully hosts even busier racedays than the Cup. The dirt track is fair and safe and perfectly configured for the main-track Cup events. Kentucky's a fitting home for something called a Breeders' Cup, and there's something pleasing about having the Distaff and Classic run at the same course and distance as the Oaks and Derby.

---Only five more days of Aqueduct racing in 2009, as the track goes dark for a dozen days after Sunday's card:

There's not a lot left on the graded-stakes calendar either:


Today's Queens County is the last hundred-grander in New York until the Whirlaway Feb. 6 and the last graded stakes until the G3 Toboggan March 6. Every other scheduled stakes between now and then carries a $65,000 purse.