2021 Breeders’ Cup hinges on Del Mar Thoroughbred Club oversight


The return of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships to the Del Mar Racetrack in 2021 hinges on a decision scheduled March 29 by the state agency that leases the track.

That shouldn’t be a problem, judging from discussion Tuesday, March 12, among California 22nd District Agricultural Association directors, commonly know as the Del Mar Fair Board.

The board offered no dissenting comments in response to Director Richard Valdez’s explanation that Breeders’ Cup management wants confirmation this month that the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club will continue to be the track’s manager during the event in fall 2021.

“As a result of our great fortune of having (the) Breeders’ Cup come back in 2021, they need to make sure that their operators are in place for that event, which would be DMTC,” Valdez said.

The club’s lease of the track expires next year and normally the renewal would occur then. The Breeders’ Cup, however, requests the State Race Track Leasing Commission renew the contract when it meets March 29.

Even with the early renewal by the commission, the thoroughbred’s five-year lease would be extended through 2025.

The Breeder’s Cup features the world’s best thoroughbreds competing in numerous categories and is one of the sport’s signature international events.

Leaders of the Lexington-based organization chose Del Mar for the site of the Breeder’s Cup in 2017.

“The success of the 2017 event and the overwhelming support provided by the local community is why we were thrilled to announce in August that Del Mar was selected as the host site for the 2021 Breeders’ Cup,” wrote its CEO, Craig Fravel, in a recent letter to Valdez.

Valdez is vice president of the state leasing commission, which includes members overseeing state-owned racetrack properties from around California.