The concrete walls of Dick Duchossois’s massive grandstand will echo like an empty canyon this afternoon. There’s so much going on in the Windy City that going to the horse races – these horse races – will be last on the minds of Chicagoans.
Horse racing prospers in areas where there’s little else but horse racing to entertain folks. Perhaps that’s why the Breeders’ Cup will announce today that its end-of-year event will be scheduled for relatively quiet Louisville. Louisvilleans (is that what they call ‘em?) still think horse racing is major league sport and the places which make sense for staging the Breeders’ Cup aren’t available.
The choice of location is a mistake for several reasons. European participants won’t like that the track provides a home team advantage. Those lucky enough to be at Santa Anita the past two autumns won’t find balmy temperatures, majestic views and interesting things to do during their visit. The day (and a little of the previous night) will be all racing, no celebrities, no diversions – boring. But, at least, there won’t be anything else going on to compete for attention.