JC / Railbird

Breeders’ Cup Archive

Catching Up

It’s been a light week of posting, all due to another site on which I work. Breeders’ Cup 360 returned on Wednesday for another season of Breeders’ Cup handicapping and chat, and the editors have lined up a solid set of contributors, including returning international correspondents Nick Luck and Fanny Salmon, and new feature writers John Scheinman and Amanda Duckworth. Best of all, we have Ernie Munick, tanned and pampered, driving the E Train. Over the next few days, more features and links will be added to the pages; over the next 12 weeks, a terrific range of content will be published. There’s a widget, and of course, we’re on Twitter.

Not one, but two articles this week on the Keeneland Library DRF archive project, one of the neatest things going in the industry these days. “We’re building a ‘Cadillac version’ of an online database,” archivist Becky Ryder tells the Saratogian. They’re also ramping up fundraising efforts, reports the Daily Racing Form, as the project will take about $10 million (or approximately $1.25 a page) to complete. Consider giving.

John Pricci tosses off a few fine phrases in this column, and several excellent points. “The connections promised they would share Zenyatta with all her fans. I wasn’t aware that all of them lived in California.” It’s 2009 all over again.

Only a Game visits Suffolk Downs. “My own pick in the first race, a $12,500-claimer, is the lightly regarded Why O My. I like him for finishing second in his last test at 135-1. Why shouldn’t he win this time at 8-1? I ask the studious Mr. Greenbaum what he thinks of my reasoning.” Not much, says Greenbaum.

Introducing BC360

Well, that was a bit longer of a post-Saratoga hiatus than I expected, but I have a great excuse. Thanks, Superfecta, Foolish Pleasure, and Alex Waldrop for noting the launch of Breeders’ Cup 360, a site I developed for the Breeders’ Cup, which is dedicated to handicapping this year’s event and boasts a solid list of contributors, including some familiar names, such as Jeremy Plonk, Randy Moss, Donna Brothers, and Caton Bredar, as well as some less familiar, at least on these shores. Emphasis will be placed on international contenders in the coming weeks, and the site’s editors have tapped Nick Luck, a presenter with Racing UK, and Fanny Salmon, of Equidia, to provide analyses of the scene abroad. The press release covers most of the details, but there are a couple site features I particularly want to point out:

– Vlogs from Ernie Munick. As the popular leader of the Facebook group Thoroughbred Racing in New York and all-around good guy announced a few days ago, he’s been hired as the official vlogger of the Breeders’ Cup, and will be posting from Santa Anita all that week. I can’t wait to watch what the auteur behind this marvelous Rachel Alexandra video comes up with when given a pass to the biggest event in American racing outside the Kentucky Derby.

Stats from past Breeders’ Cups. New this year and linked from the BC360 homepage and breederscup.com, a nifty interface that allows fans to pull historical charts and info from 25 years of Breeders’ Cup data. Look up trainers, jockeys, sires; do a little trend analysis. Discover random facts, such as that Arkansas, Georgia, Minnesota, and New Mexico have each produced one BC starter (Dust on the Bottle, 2000 Classic; Bluesthestandard, 2003 Sprint; Booly, 1992 Juvenile Fillies; Ricks Natural Star, 1996 Turf), or that blue hen Hasili is the dam with the most BC starters (seven, of which two — Banks Hill, 2001 and Intercontinental, 2005 — won, both in the Filly and Mare Turf).

– Pages optimized for smartphones. Visit BC360 on your iPhone, iPod, Android, Pre, and certain BlackBerry devices, and you’ll get all the content (except for video) and comments, plus a quick way to browse tags and search. The mobile site also has a useful list of links to sites like the BC YouTube page (helpful for looking up race replays) and past results charts.

For even more #BC09, there’s a BC360 Twitter feed. Contender news, handicapping info, and site blurbs will fill out most of the tweets this month and next, but come Breeders’ Cup week, I’ll be joining Ernie et al in Arcadia to tweet live (and keep the site updated) from the track. Until then, enjoy.

BC Meeting Recaps

… from Dana at Green but Game and Michael at Gathering the Wind.
I’m still mulling over the two-hour conversation Thursday with Rotondo and Land; the meeting was a useful exercise, the start of a dialogue, even if we didn’t sell the Breeders’ Cup on any fan-driven changes (yet).

BC to Cut Ticket Prices, Meet With Fans

11/8/08 Update: Inspired by the election outcome, Dana wrote about Self Appointed Fan Committee and the upcoming meeting with the Breeders’ Cup, at which fan issues with the event will be discussed, over on the Blood-Horse. Give the BC feedback: “The door is open and they’re ready to listen but it’s up to you to shove your foot in the door and make your voice heard.” (And thanks to all those who have submitted!)

Sports Business Journal reports this week that the Breeders’ Cup is considering ticket price cuts for 2009:

Tickets this year were priced from $20 to $1,200, and many of them were bundled so that customers had to buy tickets for Friday and Saturday. [CMO Peter Land] said event officials are eyeing $300 and $400 two-day tickets, which were seats in the grandstand reserve section, as candidates for price reductions and to be broken into separate tickets.

We have heard from some of our constituents that our pricing was high, so we are going to address it,” Land said (SBJ subscription required).
One requested change that won’t likely come to pass is moving the Distaff/Ladies’ Classic/Filly & Mare Classic to Saturday. The Breeders’ Cup plans to run all the distaff divisions on Friday again next year.
But perhaps the BC can be persuaded to consider alternatives?
On the eve of this year’s event, the Take Back the Race petition was sent to BC officials with 242 signatures, and Land responded with a gracious note, writing, “We certainly like to hear from our fans.” That wasn’t just politesse. A mid-November meeting is being organized by BC VP Peter Rotondo and my SAFC co-collaborator Dana Byerly of Green but Game (who had the pleasure of first chatting with Rotondo last month) at which fans will get a chance to air their concerns with BC officials. Unfortunately, only a small group will be in the room or on the call, but that doesn’t mean anyone has to feel left out. Take a few moments to tell the Breeders’ Cup what’s on your mind: Visit Self Appointed Fan Committee and share your thoughts on anything BC related. Whether about saddle cloths, the race schedule, wagering, camera angles, or Hank Goldberg and his piggy bank, we’ll make sure all submissions are passed along. Fans have the attention of the BC; take advantage of the opportunity.

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