Controversial plan to split Breeders' Cup into two cards are thrown out

Controversial proposals to split the Breeders' Cup into two cards in November and December have been rejected.

Under the blueprint, tabled at Thursday's meeting of the Breeders' Cup board, four dirt races – the Classic, Juvenile, Juvenile Fillies and Sprint – would have been moved to the second Saturday in December, probably to be held at Gulfstream Park.

The remaining nine Cup events, plus a new feature restricted to three-year-olds to fill the vacant Classic slot, would have stayed where they are to make a ten-race programme in November.

The board issued a statement saying it had "decided not to proceed” with the proposals.

“While the board determined not to proceed with the concept under consideration, we continue to welcome and encourage the consideration of new ideas and affirm that healthy debate on those ideas will be a positive for both the Breeders’ Cup and international thoroughbred racing,” the statement read.

According to the Daily Racing Form, the proposals followed lobbying by several prominent directors, including celebrity chef racehorse owner Bobby Flay.

Their argument focused on the suggestion that the current two-day Breeders' Cup suffers from being scheduled in competition with college football broadcasts.

The highlight of this weekend's US schedule is the return of Solomini (Bob Baffert/Flavien Prat) in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (12.09am GMT, Sunday) at Oaklawn Park.

On his last appearance, he was first past the post in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity, only to be demoted for interference in favour of stablemate McKinzie, a major Kentucky Derby contender.

The Coolmore partners have bought into the son of Curlin since then – and Baffert has won this race six times in the last eight years, including with subsequent Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in 2015.