November 7, 2022
“If You Build It, We Will Come” — The Breeders' Cup World Championships Will Return to Long Island if Belmont Park is Modernized
Bringing the Breeders’ Cup World Championships back to New York State will have an estimated economic impact of $100 million
New York has not hosted the Breeders’ Cup since 2005 due to aging infrastructure at Belmont Park
Read the letter from the Breeders’ Cup HERE
NEW YORK – We Are NY Horse Racing, a coalition of small businesses, labor unions, nonprofits, trade associations, and other groups that support the sport of horse racing in New York, today announced that the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) has secured a commitment to bring the Breeders’ Cup World Championship back to New York if Belmont Park on Long Island is modernized. Thoroughbred horse racing’s year-end mega event, the Breeders’ Cup is a two-day spectacle that attracts fans and competitors from around the globe. Due to aging infrastructure at Belmont Park, the World Championships have not been hosted in New York since 2005.
Bringing the event back to Belmont would result in an estimated economic impact of at least $100 million each time the event is hosted in New York.
“New York is the ultimate global stage, and the new Belmont Park will be an ideal location to regularly host the Breeders’ Cup,” said NYRA President & CEO Dave O’Rourke. “The Breeders’ Cup is one of the great events in sports, and as we all saw over the weekend, the enthusiasm and energy around the Breeders’ Cup continues to grow. We thank our friends at the Breeders’ Cup for recognizing the opportunities that lie ahead here in New York and look forward to advancing this transformational project in the coming months.”
According to a recent study, horse racing in New York State is responsible for 19,000 jobs in every corner of the state. The Saratoga summer meet generates nearly $240 million in annual economic impact and is critically important to the Upstate tourism and hospitality sectors, with this year’s Saratoga summer meet marking the seventh consecutive year with paid attendance exceeding one million.
The 2022 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which were conducted at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky, from November 4-5, generated record breaking all-sources wagering handle of $189 million. Keeneland and the City of Lexington welcomed more than 85,000 racing fans over the course of the two-day event, which received comprehensive national and international coverage from the networks of NBC Sports. Although the event has not been held at Belmont Park for nearly two decades, New York-based trainers, owners and jockeys played a central role in the competition.
The thoroughbred racing mega event rotates through North America’s most prestigious and historic horse racing venues and was previously hosted by the Empire State in 1990, 1995, 2001, and 2005.
In 2005, however, the Breeders’ Cup raised concerns with Belmont Park’s aging infrastructure — which is not heated or winterized — and determined that Belmont no longer possessed the hospitality offerings needed to support the event. As a result, Belmont was removed from the rotating list of tracks that host the event. Since then, the Breeders’ Cup has been held at Churchill Downs and Keeneland in Kentucky, Santa Anita Park and Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in California, and Monmouth Park in New Jersey.
This commitment from the Breeders’ Cup would add New York back into the rotation to host the World Championships, regularly bringing the event to Belmont Park for years to come.
About the We Are NY Horse Racing Coalition
We Are NY Horse Racing is a coalition of small businesses, labor unions, non-profits, and trade associations who recognize the importance of horse racing as an economic engine that creates and sustains jobs for New York families. In total, the sport generates $3 billion annual economic activity in New York State and sustains 19,000 jobs for New Yorkers.
Launched in September of 2021, the coalition has quickly grown to include more than 50 members committed to educating the public about the role the sport plays in the New York State economy and advocating for legislation that supports horse racing in the Empire State. In addition to a paid advertising campaign, the membership has engaged in dialogue with lawmakers, participated in legislative hearings and conducted grass roots events to build support for the sport. For additional information, visit www.nyhorseracing.com
About the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA)
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) holds the exclusive franchise to conduct thoroughbred racing at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course. NYRA tracks are the cornerstone of New York State’s horse racing economy, which is responsible for 19,000 jobs and more than $3 billion in annual economic impact. For additional information, visit NYRA.com