Posted: Sept. 13, 2019
Craig Fravel, who has served as Breeders’ Cup President and Chief Executive Officer since 2011, has been named Chief Executive Officer of Racing Operations for The Stronach Group, a position he will assume after the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park Nov. 1-2.
The announcement was made in joint release from Breeders’ Cup and TSG, which owns and operates Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Course and Rosecroft Raceway in Maryland; Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields in California; and Gulfstream Park in Florida. It also owns training centers and subsidiaries tied to pari-mutuel racing.
“I can think of no greater privilege than to have had the opportunity to preside over what I consider the greatest championships in Thoroughbred racing,” Fravel said in a release. “Every race comprising the Breeders’ Cup World Championships provides the chance to witness the splendid horses that reflect the hard work of breeders, trainers, jockeys, owners and backstretch workers. It has been an honor to serve them all during my time at the Breeders’ Cup.
“I want to thank the women and men of the Breeders’ Cup for their dedication and passion for our event. My particular gratitude goes to the Breeders’ Cup board led in recent years by Bill Farish and Fred Hertrich whose support has been invaluable. I now look forward to new and important challenges and opportunities and the chance to join my family back in California.”
“On behalf of our board and members, we extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Craig for his outstanding leadership and enormous accomplishments as our President and CEO these past eight years,” Breeders’ Cup Chairman Fred Hertrich III said. “His management and stewardship of the organization, not to mention his quick wit and calm demeanor, will be greatly missed by all of us. We wish Craig continued success in his new venture with one of our most valuable host-site partners, The Stronach Group.”
“I am delighted to have Craig join our company at this pivotal moment in our sport,” said Belinda Stronach, TSG Chairman and President. “Craig’s stellar reputation and proven track record of leadership will enable us to further our goal to become North America’s preeminent horseracing organization as we work lock-step with industry partners to prioritize horse and rider safety.”
The release said Fravel will assume management and oversight of all racing operations across TSG-owned tracks and training facilities and focus on “implementing and enforcing global best practices and integrity standards for horse and rider safety in collaboration with key industry stakeholders while driving a new standard of excellence in Thoroughbred horse racing with a commitment to creating an unparalleled experience for both horsemen and guests.”
At Breeders’ Cup, Fravel developed and executed a long-term host-site strategy and successfully brought the World Championships to two first-time tracks—Keeneland in 2015 and Del Mar in 2017. Fravel expanded international participation in the Breeders’ Cup to its highest levels ever and struck an unprecedented 10-year partnership with NBC Sports to televise the World Championships through 2025.
Working with industry stakeholders, Fravel also spearheaded plans to increase horse safety and welfare measures.
The Breeders’ Cup Board of Directors is evaluating the appropriate next steps to fill Fravel’s position, the release said.
(Craig Fravel photo courtesy of Breeders’ Cup)