Drew Fleming

President & Chief Executive Officer of Breeders’ Cup Limited

We are celebrating the 40th running of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships on November 3 & 4 at Santa Anita Park, can you share your feelings one month out from the event?

As we return to Southern California for our milestone 40th running, we’re reflecting upon the legacy of those who came before us while looking forward to thrilling performances by the remarkable equine athletes we love and admire. The international competition has never been fiercer, and the prestige associated with the Breeders’ Cup winner’s circle has never been higher. We are proud to welcome accomplished participants and guests from around the world, and we can’t wait to celebrate with everyone as the sport’s best Thoroughbreds put on an extraordinary show.

What do you see as the main opportunities and challenges of this year’s Breeders Cup?

Racing is truly a global affair, and it is imperative that we work together with our international partners to grow the sport and showcase its beauty and excitement to new fans around the world. Rising tides lift all ships – we want racing to succeed across the globe for the health of the sport.

Last year, 26 countries, including Canada, France, Ireland, Germany, and the United Kingdom, offered pari-mutuel, commingled wagering through the Breeders’ Cup Global Pool on the World Championships. Seven other jurisdictions offered separate-pool wagering. It is exciting to see the Breeders’ Cup continue to grow each year on an international level, which has led to increased competition, larger purses, and a stronger fan base.

What kind of relationship do you have with Pari Mutuel operators in United States and other parts of the world?

We have a great relationship with all our simulcast partners – they are an important part of our distribution and wagering.

Where do you see the Breeders Cup in 10–15 years’ time?

The safety of our athletes and integrity of the sport will continue to be at the forefront of our mission, which is why we support the work of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority. We will work to fulfill our role as a leader in the Thoroughbred industry, not only striving to host the best and safest races in the world, but also setting the standard where integrity is concerned.

Sports betting, research, innovation, and investment are among our core focus areas. We’re also intently focused on ensuring we’re using the latest technologies, media, and betting platforms to reach fans new and old where they are and raise their level of interest in Thoroughbred racing. Every decision we make is in the best interest of the sport and its future.

What do you do enjoy doing when you are not busy as the President and CEO of the Breeders Cup?

I enjoy spending time with my wife and son, and I’m always working to improve my golf game.

Please tell us what is your best memory of a sport (horseracing or other) event you have attended?

Seeing American Pharoah become the first Grand Slam winner in 2015 at Keeneland was amazing, and that Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic is a race I’ll remember for the rest of my life. In 2021 we had a large Japanese contingency participate at Del Mar, and for them to have two wins was fantastic for racing while showcasing the truly international appeal of the Breeders’ Cup.

Personally, there are two races as an owner that I’ll remember forever. The first was our first win at Keeneland with a horse named Nina Fever, and the second was with a horse named Con Te Partiro, who went on to win at Royal Ascot. Traveling there with friends and celebrating in the car park is a memory I’ll always cherish. Most recently, watching Flightline come around the turn in the 2022 Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic with such amazing force in a performance that was just incredibly impressive in front of a hometown crowd – that will stick with me forever.