Craig Fravel named Breeders’ Cup president & CEO
The Breeders’ Cup announced June 17 that Craig Fravel, president and general manager of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, has been named president and chief executive officer of Breeders’ Cup Ltd. Fravel, 54, will assume his new role effective July 18.
During Fravel’s time at Del Mar, he oversaw the $80 million reconstruction of the track’s grandstand in 1992-’93, and the $9 million installation of a new engineered racing surface, which was completed in 2007. He was also a driving force in enhancing the customer experience of a day at the races, incorporating a program of music and entertainment at Del Mar, helping to increase its reputation as one of the most popular international venues in sports.
Fravel’s appointment comes at a time when the Breeders’ Cup has emerged from its most successful championships in its 27-year history, drawing a record 114,353 fans over the two-day event at Churchill Downs, and handling more than $196 million in total wagers worldwide. Churchill Downs is also the site of this year’s Breeders’ Cup on Nov. 4, 5.
“We are proud to have selected one of the most talented, innovative and respected individuals in our business to take the reins as the new Breeders’ Cup President and Chief Executive Officer,” said Breeders’ Cup Chairman Tom Ludt. “Craig’s value as a leader and expertise in so many areas will be a terrific asset to our company in the expanded global universe of the Breeders’ Cup.”
“This business begins and ends with the horses and it is the charge of the Breeders’ Cup to make sure that our passion for breeding and racing is shared by the public,” said Fravel. “It has been a privilege to be associated with an organization such as Del Mar that represents the finest ideals of Thoroughbred racing. I am grateful to my colleagues there and, at the same time am mindful of how fortunate I am to have been offered the opportunity to lead the Breeders’ Cup, where I look forward to working with Tom Ludt and the Breeders’ Cup board to continue the organization’s work to promote our industry.”
While at Del Mar, Fravel emerged as a leading racing industry figure, serving in an advisory capacity for a number of organizations. Fravel served as chairman of the Southern California Off-Track Wagering, Inc. (SCOTWINC) and was chairman of the statewide California Marketing Committee. He also serves on the board of Equibase, the official provider of racing data for the Thoroughbred industry; the National Racing and Medication Testing Consortium and as a director of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, where he had previously served as chairman. He is a member of The Jockey Club.
Fravel becomes the fifth president and chief executive in the history of Breeders’ Cup Ltd., which administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s most prestigious global event, consisting of 15 races and purses totaling $26 million over two days.
The selection of Fravel completes the process of the Breeders’ Cup Search Committee, headed by Breeders’ Cup Chairman Tom Ludt, and the executive search firm Spencer Stuart, which interviewed candidates for the CEO position over the past two months, following the exit of prior CEO Greg Avioli.
Fravel joined the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club as its Executive Vice President in 1990 after working as a partner in the San Diego law firm of Luce, Forward, Hamilton and Scripps, where he specialized in corporate law and finance, and had represented Del Mar. He was promoted to track president and general manager in March of last year.
Fravel is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and a cum laude graduate of Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. Fravel and his wife Cathie have two daughters, Sarah and Ireland.
- Fravel assumes role of Thoroughbred Club president, general manager
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- Track gets relief from state’s shift
- Oak Tree to meet at Santa Anita, eyes Del Mar for 2011
- Del Mar Racetrack attendance increases
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