In following-on from “D.G. Sets the Breeder’s Cup Bar” D.G., Daniel, Van Clief Jr. talks of growing the Breeders’ Cup World Championship into a world leader.
D.G. Van Clief was bred and raised in thoroughbreds with his family conducting the successful Nydrie Stud in Esmont, Charlottesville in Virginia, the centre of their 3,000 acre Nydrie estate.
“We spent all our holidays with the horses ay Nydrie,” said D.G. “My grandmother bred the 1947 Kentucky Derby winner Jet Pilot, with my father and Mrs E. H. Augustus breeding Natalma, the dam of Northern Dancer, both at Nydrie.”
Today D.G Van Clief Jr. is Chairman of the Virginia Racing Commission, committee member of The Jockey Club and recipient of the inaugural Jockey Club Medal.
A former Steward of the Jockey Club Steward, he was also Founding Chairman of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, having previously served as Vice Chairman and Chief Executive.
In being Chairman of Fasig-Tipton Company for some 15 years, D.G. was awarded the Eclipse Award of Merit in 1998 and received the TOBA Industry Service Award in 1997.
Serving the Breeders’ Cup Ltd for 24 years, from 1982 to 2006, with the final eight years as President, D.G. recalls “my tenure was a bit longer than I had originally anticipated.”
“The formation of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association was in strategic alignment with the Breeders’ Cup’s goals of building positive awareness, a strong brand, and a larger audience for Thoroughbred racing.”
“We, the Breeders’ Cup, drafted the original blueprint, and helped to develop the strategic plan, build an alliance of Racing organizations. We raised the revenue which could provide our sport with a strong presence beyond the boundaries of our own industry and existing customer base.”
“The Breeders’ Cup provided management, leadership, funding and entered a joint operating agreement with the NTRA, but since unwound. The Breeders’ Cup still partners with The Jockey Club and Keeneelnd, who were some of the original founders of the NTRA.”
“The Breeders’ Cup grew and matured significantly between 1985 and 1998, establishing itself as a major influence in choosing annual champions.”
“It established itself as a legitimate television event, developing the awareness and interest of the Breeders’ Cup amongst a growing body of racing and sports fans internationally.”
“We explored host site beyond the major Los Angeles and New York markets, and continued to refine all aspects of the programme while consolidating the corporation’s financial and strategic strengths.”
In defining key efforts during this 13 year growth and expansion period D.G. Van Clief said “the institution of enhanced proactive and reactive safety procedures were major requirements.”
“Along with international quarantine protocols, the development of marketing and sponsor sales programs to support Breeders’ Cup strategy and growth was important.”
“A great period of growth and expansion was in ‘Ted’ James E. Bassett III coming on aboard as President from 1988 to 1996.”
“The addition of the Filly and Mare Turf race to the Breeders’ Cup and the beginning of purse growth above the original $10 million.”
“The first ever Breeders’ Cup held in 1988 at Churchill Downs, home of Kentucky Derby, the first at a ‘smaller’ race track at Gulfstream Park and the first outside the USA at Woodbine, Canada in 1996.”
“Developing relationships in promotional, marketing, and communications with international racing authorities including France Gallop and Longchamp, Ascot Racing Authority and Royal Ascot, Australian Jockey Club, Hong Kong Jockey Club, Argentine Jockey Club and Hippodrome Chile.”
“Later it was bring the Championship event to new US markets, with Chicago having Arlington Park in 2002, Dallas at Lone Star Park in 2004, and New Jersey with Monmouth Park in 2006.”