Updated on 06/27/2014 9:39AM

Breeders' Cup names Keeneland as 2015 host

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ARCADIA, Calif. – The Breeders’ Cup championship races will be run at familiar and new venues from 2015 to 2017, the organization announced Tuesday.

For the first time, the Breeders’ Cup championship days will be run at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., on Oct. 30-31, 2015. For 2016 and 2017, the event will be in California – for a record ninth time at Santa Anita on Nov. 4-5, 2016, and for the first time at Del Mar, north of San Diego, on Nov. 3-4, 2017.

Breeders’ Cup officials said the decision to announce three years of locations at once was done in consultation with leading owners, trainers, breeders, and stallion farms.

“We have sought input from key constituents from around the world,” Breeders’ Cup chairman Bill Farish said in a press conference.

Keeneland is at the center of American Thoroughbred breeding and sales in the greater Lexington area and will be the most recent venue to host the event for the first time since Monmouth Park in New Jersey did so in 2007.

“We’re in the heart of Thoroughbred breeding in the country,” Keeneland president Bill Thomason said. “This community will embrace the opportunity. We’re looking forward to 2015.”

Keeneland officials said more than 7,000 seats, including new box seats and dining and hospitality areas, will be added for the Breeders’ Cup, bringing reserved seating capacity to 21,000. The Breeders’ Cup will be held at Keeneland during daytime hours, earlier than recent years in California, when the event ended in the early evening in the Eastern time zone. Keeneland does not have plans to install temporary lights, track officials said.

Keeneland officials have sought the Breeders’ Cup in recent years and are making significant changes to the venue this year. Notably, Keeneland is replacing its Polytrack synthetic surface with dirt this summer.

Del Mar, which hosts a popular summer meeting each year, plans a similar change in December following a monthlong autumn meeting in November. The new dirt track will be in place for the 2015 summer meeting, replacing the existing Polytrack surface.

Since the 2013 Del Mar summer meeting, the track has widened its turf course to accommodate more starters, which was considered vital to hosting a Breeders’ Cup. The new turf course will be used for the first time this summer.
The 2017 Breeders’ Cup will be at the start of Del Mar’s autumn meeting, dates the track acquired following the closure of Hollywood Park in 2013.

Del Mar officials have lobbied to host the Breeders’ Cup in recent years.

“This is a dream come true for us,” said Del Mar president Joe Harper. “We’ve got this opportunity, and we’re really looking forward to it.”

Santa Anita is hosting the Breeders’ Cup this year Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, marking the fifth time the event has been held at the popular track in the last seven years. Santa Anita held the Breeders’ Cup in 2008-09 and in 2012-13. Previously, the track hosted the Breeders’ Cup in 1986, 1993, and 2003. When Santa Anita hosts the event in 2016, it will surpass Churchill Downs as the most frequent host venue in the history of the event that began in 1984. Churchill Downs has hosted the event eight times, most recently in 2011.

Breeders’ Cup president Craig Fravel said Tuesday that his organization did not mandate that Del Mar and Keeneland change from synthetic surfaces to dirt to host the two days of championship races.

“The Breeders’ Cup has never taken a position either favoring or disfavoring a particular surface,” he said. “We have taken a position on safety and what will be the best product.”

Thomason said Keeneland had researched a switch to a dirt surface for more than year.

“We hoped synthetic surfaces would be the predominant surface in the country, and it didn’t,” he said. “The timing came about very well for our opportunity to host the Breeders’ Cup, but it was not because of that.”

Harper said Del Mar plans to return to a dirt surface because Hollywood Park, which had a synthetic track, has closed, and because Santa Anita has a dirt surface. The new Del Mar dirt surface will be similar to a dirt surface that Santa Anita plans to install this summer.

Harper said Del Mar plans to construct temporary seating, with luxury suites and box seats, in an area west of the main grandstand for the 2017 Breeders’ Cup.

– additional reporting by Nicole Russo

Mario Reyes 5 months ago
Bring tne breeders cup back to gulfstream park and belmont park man,enough of This west coast and kentucky bullshitt!
flashfu22308204 5 months ago
yeah, Woodbine go Nakatani! SA turf to dirt to turf in 20 yards on the crucial turn WHY ! WHY ! WHY!
russell 5 months ago
That is true and I will bet. I haven't bet more than $100 since they installed the kitty litter track. I don't recommend attending the BC there. Its standing room only with 35,000 people.
Derrick Dacosta 5 months ago
P.S. The lowest betting take out in North America.
Derrick Dacosta 5 months ago
If you want the very best that Europe has to offer and a true world championship have it again at Woodbine. The best turf course in North America and European horse owners prefer running their horses at Woodbine. With most other tracks converting back to dirt, I am sure Woodbine will soon follow suit! Plus Canada is almost a gun free nation and therefore much safer! And the cheeseburgers are pretty good too! LOL
Bugsy Anderson 5 months ago
Lets hope woodbine never switches back. Those fields are huge and the track is thr fairest around
Jackson Jackson 5 months ago
More BC Sound Tracks -- California Everybody here is outta sight ..we don't bark and we don't bite We keep things loose we keep things light Everybody just dancin' in the moonlight Back East --- All the leaves are brown ..and the sky is gray I've been to the track .....on a winters day I'd be safe and warm if I was in L.A. California dreamin' ...on such a winters day
Robert Clayton 5 months ago
If these guys were Pinocchio they would be poking each others eyes out with their ever growing noses....Of course you gave it to Keeneland and Del Mar because they got rid of the synthetic.....What else changed?
Em Duett 5 months ago
O ye of little faith. Lexington is horse country, and we should be given an opportunity to host BC. And the naysayers -- they / y'all don't have to come!
Jackson Jackson 5 months ago
More BC Sound tracks -- Keeneland Outside in the COLD distance A Kentucky Wildcat did growl two riders were approaching and the wind began to HOWL ______________________________________________________________________ Monmouth --- Baby.. this town rips the bones from your back It's a death trap.. It's a suicide rap.. we gotta get out while were young ... Saratoga --- Raindrops.... so many raindrops .. it feels like raindrops falling from my eye-eyes :) Here comes that rainy day feeling again and soon my tears will be falling like rain :) It's a hard ..it's a hard .. it's a hard ..it's a hard ..it's a hard rain a gonna fall :) KY and or CA --- Come and listen to a story 'bout a man named Jedd poor mountaineer bar-ly kept his family fed then one day he was shootin' at some food an' up through the ground come some bubblin' crude The 1st thing you know ol' Jedd's a millionaire the kinfolk said you gotta move away from hare they said Californy is the place you gotta beeee so they loaded up the truck and they moved to Beverly.. Hills that is.. swimmin' pools & movie stars :)
Cougar Paisley 5 months ago
Touche', about Monmouth They got out of town with the public's back, and the Grey Goose, too!
Ron Solberg 5 months ago
I would like to see it ran at woodbine again
GQ 5 months ago
agree with Woodbine. Awesome venue.
GQ 5 months ago
Gotta get rid of the plastic track first