Comments from Breeders’ Cup President Greg Avioli
“It was a tremendous two days of racing with incredible performances both days. We had 80,000-plus fans here over the two days and everything went smoothly in the operation – a testament to our hosts, the Oak Tree Racing Association,” said Greg Avioli, president of Breeders’ Cup Ltd., following Championship Saturday program of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park. “The Europeans cast down the gauntlet today by winning five races and our industry is going to have come back next year with a lot good horses if we’re to take back the Breeders’ Cup.
“We saw a lot great racehorses from Europe today, including the wondrous filly [Goldikova] who won the Mile,” he continued.
On another level, Avioli, responding to a question about changes that might be coming in the future, said one thing is to listen more to the fans noting that “we don’t always do all things right, but we keep trying.”
He said the Breeders’ Cup absolutely will look at the ticket situation, “Our high end tickets went really fast, but those for $150 to $200 came up a bit high, perhaps.”
In the handle department, Avioli said the Breeders’ Cup had decided, in the difficult economic times might do well to match the 2007 handle of about $147 million, but at last accounting it appeared the handle could hit about $155 million.
As for Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride synthetic surface, Avioli gave the track high marks and insisted that synthetic surfaces are here to stay.
“Dirt tracks will continue to be around for a long time – both as a function of tradition and economics – but synthetic surfaces will continue to be important.”