A month before the 1982 Kentucky Derby, a visionary thoroughbred owner and breeder, the late John R. Gaines of Lexington, made a low-key suggestion during a speech in Louisville that has turned out to be the greatest influence on horse racing since the Kentucky Derby and the Triple Crown.
I was in the audience when Gaines made his speech. No one applauded or stood up amid cheers for the idea that attracts the world’s greatest thoroughbreds.
Instead, people looked at each other across the table as if to say, “Hey, why hasn’t someone thought of that before?”
That was how the Breeders’ Cup was started
It is fitting that the greatest crowds the Breeders’ Cup has attracted have been in Louisville at Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby, the world’s greatest race.
Light up the night!
Now there’s no worry that the Cup’s biggest race, the $5 million Classic, set for 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, will be run in the dark because Churchill Downs has lights for night racing.
The second-best race, the $2 million Ladies Classic, also is set for 7 p.m. on Friday.
This is the second year in a row that Churchill has hosted the Breeders’ Cup. It moves to California next year.
Churchill Downs would like to have the Breeders’ Cup each year, but the Cup board selects the sites and previously has shifted its big day among Louisville, New York and California.
The horse racing industry isn’t noted for new ideas. Isn’t it about time another John R. Gaines comes up with something to change the face of the industry? The things most needed are ideas that will appeal to younger fans.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Earl Cox, Sports Columnist
Earl doesn¹t just write about sports legends, he counts many of them as his
friends. A member of the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame, he has been writing
about sports for 60 years. Incidentally, that¹s about how long it’s been
since he¹s cleaned his desk but he knows where everything is.