06/28/2012 3:16PM

Breeders' Cup: Board set to vote on 2013 site


The Breeders’ Cup board of directors was expected to vote on Thursday on the selection of a host site for the 2013 year-end event, with the option of choosing among Churchill Downs in Louisville, Santa Anita Park in Southern California, and Monmouth Park in New Jersey, according to officials.

It was unclear on Thursday afternoon when Breeders’ Cup would announce the 2013 site if the board approved one of the locations. Breeders’ Cup officials cited a longstanding policy this week to refuse to comment on any aspect of the site-selection process until an official announcement is made.

The vote to approve the site is being complicated by Breeders’ Cup’s approval two years ago of a rule that will prohibit the raceday administration of the anti-bleeding medication Lasix before any of the event’s 15 races beginning with the 2013 event, according to officials who are involved in the process. Breeders’ Cup is seeking assurances from the host sites that the rule will be enforced without any complications, though several Breeders’ Cup directors are also concerned that the rule will be difficult to keep in place if states do not amend their rules similarly to restrict the raceday use of the drug, which is currently legal to administer in every major U.S. racing jurisdiction.

“A lot of the discussion [on Thursday] is going to revolve around the Lasix issue,” said an official who is involved in the process, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

This year, Breeders’ Cup will prohibit the raceday administration of Lasix before the event’s five races restricted to 2-year-olds. The 2012 event is being held at Santa Anita Park.

Earlier this month, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approved a rule that will phase-out the raceday use of Lasix in 2-year-old stakes races beginning in 2014. Under the rule, which is expected to be challenged as it makes its way through a legislative approval process, a full ban on the raceday use of the drug prior to stakes races will not go into effect until 2016.

Breeders’ Cup has asked the host sites to consider holding the two-day event on either the first Friday and Saturday in November or the second Friday and Saturday in that month, according to officials. The post times of the event on the two Saturdays will differ because of television commitments on NBC, the officials said, so the two Eastern sites have been asked to commit to the potential of using lights so that races can be held as late as 8:00 p.m. Eastern, the officials said.

Churchill Downs installed lights several years ago. Monmouth Park does not currently have lights, but officials said this week that the track has committed to investing in lighting if it wins the 2013 event.