06/01/2012 1:21PM

Monmouth to bid for Breeders' Cup


The operators of Monmouth Park in New Jersey plan to submit a proposal to host the 2013 Breeders’ Cup, the top official at the track said on Friday.

Monmouth will submit the proposal within the next four to seven days, according to Dennis Drazin, the president of a horsemen-owned operating company that reached a deal earlier this year to lease Monmouth from the state. The proposal will ask for Monmouth to be considered for next year’s two-day event, along with events in 2014 and beyond, Drazin said.

The track’s bid for the 2013 event is likely a longshot, in part because the proposal is being submitted at a time when Breeders’ Cup is in the late stages of selecting next year’s host. The leading candidates for the 2013 event are Churchill Downs in Louisville and Santa Anita Park, the Southern California track that is hosting this year’s event. Belmont Park in New York is considered an outsider.

Monmouth has already hosted the Breeders’ Cup once, in 2007, the first year in which the event was expanded to two days, with three races on Friday and eight races on Saturday. Torrential rains fell the entire first day, and heavy rains continued to fall during most of the Saturday card. Attendance on Saturday was 41,781, the second-smallest crowd in the history of the event, and handle for all 11 races was $129.2 million, $3 million less than the handle for eight races a year earlier at Churchill Downs.

Drazin acknowledged that the 2007 event did not produce spectacular numbers, but he said the poor weather was mostly to blame.

“Given the conditions, I think our numbers, still to this day, were terrific,” Drazin said. “New Jersey deserves another chance.”

A spokesman for Breeders’ Cup, Jim Gluckson, said that the organization would not comment on the Monmouth bid or the timetable to name a 2013 host.

“It is our policy not to comment on discussions with potential host venues or announce timetables until the process is completed,” Gluckson said.

Breeders’ Cup typically requires host sites to secure tax holidays for the event, a process that usually entails the adoption of legislation. Passage of the legislation in New Jersey would need the support of Gov. Chris Christie, who pressed for the state to lease Monmouth because of dissatisfaction with the financial performance of the track and his unwillingness to use tax dollars to prop up the track’s operations.

Drazin said that he believed Christie’s administration would not object to the legislation considering the prestige of the Breeders’ Cup.

“I’m confident that we will be able to get some support over the next couple of days that would indicate the governor is behind us,” Drazin said.