Kentucky and Canada are remaining bidders to host 2018 World Equestrian Games

jpatton1@herald-leader.comApril 1, 2014 

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Dressage stars Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas won Grand Prix Special and freestyle gold and helped Netherlands win team gold at the Alltech FEI Wold Equestrian Games.

PABLO ALCALA

The state of Kentucky has submitted a signed host agreement with an undisclosed financial guarantee for the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games.

Gov. Steve Beshear's office was unable to immediately provide details of the agreement.

The agreement, which was necessary to advance a bid for the Games, is one of two that the Fédération Equestre Internationale, the governing body for the games, will consider.

Canada also has confirmed its continued interest in hosting the Games at a venue near Montreal.

Wellington, Fla., which had expressed interest, dropped out of the bid process just before the March 31 deadline "as Equestrian Sport Productions was unable to deliver the commercial requirements put in place by the FEI," according to a statement from the FEI.

"It is unfortunate that Wellington is unable to deliver on the commercial requirements and has had to withdraw," FEI Secretary General Ingmar De Vos said, "but we are confident that both Bromont/Montreal and Lexington have very strong bids.

"Both venues are very impressive, and there is no question that either of them would offer an excellent location and quality infrastructure for a really wonderful FEI World Equestrian Games in 2018. We are looking forward to the next stage in the process when the two candidates present their detailed bids to the FEI Bureau in June."

The submissions from Kentucky and Canada will be evaluated, and final bids will be presented in June, and the host city will be announced afterward.

Kentucky hosted the World Equestrian Games in 2010 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, the first time the Games had been held outside Europe. Over two weeks, equestrian athletes from all over the world competed in seven disciplines: dressage and para-dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, jumping, reining and vaulting.

To win those games, the state had to put up a $2.5 million financial guarantee that was later repaid by the non-profit group organized to run the 2010 Games. The state also was an active participant in negotiations and promotions for the bid.

Alltech, the giant animal-nutrition company based in Nicholasville, was the naming sponsor for the 2010 Games and is the title sponsor for this year's Games, to be held Aug. 23 to Sept. 7 in Normandy, France.

A study by the financial consulting firm Deloitte on behalf of the FEI found that the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington had an economic impact of $233 million, with $100 million in spectator spending, $11 million in team expenditures and $45 million for event management, sponsors, trade stands and the media.

The FEI World Equestrian Games are held every four years, in the same year as the Winter Olympics.

The inaugural games were held in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1990. They were then staged in The Hague, Netherlands, in 1994; Rome in 1998; Jerez, Spain, in 2002; and Aachen, Germany, in 2006.

Janet Patton: (859) 231-3264. Twitter: janetpattonhl.

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