10/17/2014 2:31PM

Breeders' Cup tickets at Keeneland will be limited to 28,000

Keeneland Photo
About 8,000 tickets will be sold for access to temporary chalets and tents that will be erected at various locations around the track at Keeneland for next fall's Breeders' Cup..

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Breeders’ Cup is preparing to sell 28,000 reserved tickets for next year’s two-day Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland, officials for the racetrack said Friday, though attendance on the Keeneland campus, which includes outlying buildings, is expected to be 42,000 to 45,000, according to Breeders' Cup officials.

An on-track crowd of 28,000 would be the lowest for a Breeders' Cup Saturday card in the event's history. The limited number of tickets to be sold reflects the footprint of Keeneland’s grandstand and the desire by officials to create a comfortable experience for the event’s attendees. Though record attendance at Keeneland is slightly more than 40,000, track officials readily acknowledge that crowds in excess of 30,000 are plagued by long lines for betting and concessions and create extremely uncomfortable conditions for those with even liberal conceptions of personal space.

“It’s not as comfortable an experience as we want the Breeders’ Cup to be,” said Vince Gabbert, Keeneland’s chief operating officer.

The net result is that for the first time in the Breeders’ Cup’s 30-year history, the event will be held at a track where there will be no walk-up sales, with every ticket sold well in advance of the running. While officials had already acknowledged that the Keeneland Breeders’ Cup would sell out, they had not yet discussed the number of tickets that would be available for the areas of the grandstand that would allow for a live view of the races.

Officials for the Breeders’ Cup, which has the final say on ticketing, said Friday they had not yet settled on an exact figure for reserved tickets for the Keeneland event, stressing that the organization’s current priority is preparation for the Santa Anita event in two weeks. As a result, it’s possible that the figure could change between now and when tickets go on sale, though it’s not likely that the figure will change by much.

Part of the reason why the Breeders’ Cup will be selling 28,000 tickets, rather than a larger number that reflects a level of attendance for a routine Saturday at Keeneland, is because many high-traffic areas of the grandstand will be converted into reserved seating areas, including the open-floor areas on the second, third, and fourth floors of the grandstand, and the two highly popular pub-type areas on the second-floor, the mezzanine bar and sports bar, according to Gabbert. That will limit the capacity of those areas when compared with a normal Saturday or Friday, when capacity is only limited by what the people in them will bear (and, presumably, by fire codes).

The smallest ever on-track Saturday crowd for a Breeders’ Cup was at Belmont Park in 1995, when attendance was 37,246. On the other end of the scale, record attendance for a Saturday Breeders’ Cup card is 80,452, set in 1998 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, 90 minutes from Lexington, the center of the central Kentucky breeding community. Of the next eight largest crowds for the event, seven were at Churchill.

Because of the history of large crowds in Kentucky, both Keeneland and Breeders’ Cup officials are well aware that demand for Breeders’ Cup tickets will be well in excess of 28,000. The organizations are hoping to sate some of that demand by opening up two tailgate areas on the Keeneland grounds, on what are called “the Hill” and “the Meadow,” with big-screen televisions, food trucks, and betting windows.

In addition, tickets will be sold for seating in the Keene barn, also known as the Keeneland Entertainment Center, and in the sales pavilion adjacent to the grandstand. That will bring the total number of people on the Keeneland property to approximately 45,000 each day, Gabbert said.

“We’ve got engagement of the entire campus, so we’ve got 1,100 acres we can use,” Gabbert said.

Of the 28,000 grandstand tickets, 10,000 will be sold as general admission, Gabbert said, without any access to a reserved seat or area. Tables on the north terrace and the benches on the track’s apron will be first come, first served.

Of the remaining 18,000 tickets, approximately 10,000 will be for seating in the open-air grandstand and the structure’s dining rooms and other areas. The other 8,000 tickets will be sold for access to temporary chalets and tents that will be erected at various locations around the track, including a mammoth tent on the clubhouse turn that will hold 3,000.

All of the tickets will include admission for both days of the event, scheduled for Oct. 30-31. The tickets likely will go on sale March 1, according to Breeders’ Cup officials, though some tickets will be made available on a presale basis to “loyal customers” just prior to the public sale.

Ticket prices have not been set, but officials said the prices will be comparable to those at the Breeders’ Cup this year at Santa Anita. General admission at Santa Anita for the Saturday card this year costs $25 in advance and $40 at the gate. General admission for the Friday card costs $10 in advance and $15 at the gate.

Linsey-Anne Doran More than 1 year ago
Hi all, have been reading there comments and nobod Seems happy, we are travelling from Ireland and bought 2 tickets for the Friday, and seen to be getting ripped Of for Saturday tickets. Is it possible to get normal priced Tickets?? Would love local knowledge Linseybkr@yahoo.co.uk thanks Linsey Anne
john g More than 1 year ago
How much do you have to spend a year on other DRF products in order to get free drf plus ? Wasn't the intent originally to target the people who never buys anything from DRF but reads all the articles for free? Or, loyal customers who pay.
sjm80s . More than 1 year ago
eq uibase dot com
Steve Schnell More than 1 year ago
Do people here have nothing better to do, than complain? If you don't like it... Don't watch, don't go... Don't wager... If you do any of the above instead, then just take it for what it is...
[removed] More than 1 year ago
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sjm80s . More than 1 year ago
Absolutely incorrect. Euros predominantly run on the softer grass. Just look at your BC pp.'s for this year. Look back at the prior Euro races.
Terry Mak More than 1 year ago
It is tough to get a good ticket,I got awful seats at AP.Went right to the main office and said Im the reason this place is still open,30 year regular.All she said was ok,got the seat I wanted.And of course it was cold as heck in Chicago,but everything else seemed fine.
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Pagani Zonda More than 1 year ago
Flag the Spam bot..
Lyn Cowan More than 1 year ago
The BC has effectively been destroyed: Board backed down on a promise to run medication-free; reduced seating availability for "ordinary" folks; raised prices; made attendance inaccessible through high airfares if you live east of California; made participation by non-North American horses expensive (getting to CA) and undesirable (by allowing raceday meds) and choosing tracks with poor turf courses (Santa Anita) for years in a row. Too bad. It was a great vision and we saw some great racing: Cigar, Tiznow, Ouija Board, Zenyatta. Venues should alternate between Belmont and Santa Anita. Never again at Churchill (incompetent and avaricious). I've gone for years, but after this year, no more until it moves to Belmont. Since I'm 72, this is probably my last. Thanks, BC Board. The horses I've loved deserve better, as do those in the rest of the world.
FESTUS ELROY More than 1 year ago
The Euros love Santa Anita turf course.Ex.Goldikova(twice),SixPerfection,Isligton,George Vancouver,Zagura,Dank,Flotilla,Chrisellium,Outstrip,Pounced .All Breeders Cup winners on grass since 03.The ones that dont ship like soft footing.Fall weather is too nice at Santa Anita for Soft or sloppy.
Pagani Zonda More than 1 year ago
All that list proved was that their 2nd tier horses can come here and beat what ever GR1 horses you think you have. Aside from Goldikova who is a GREAT, no other horse on that list aside from maybe the Fugue would be considered top shelf. George Vancouver- Never won a GR1 in Europe and was Smoked by Dawn Approach on multiple occasions Dank - Never won a GR1 in Europe, prior or after her BC win Pounced - Won the Juvenile turf off a maiden score and never won another stake anywhere, nor did he ever win a GR1 Flotilla- Won the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf as a maiden, and followed that up with a win in the French Guineas, then never won another race while competing at GR2 level for a year and a half to present day. Islington - That win would be her only stakes score. None in Europe. Outstrip- Easily handled by Europe's top 3 year old milers hasn't won since the Breeders cup Chriselliam - Could have been anything (RIP).
Pagani Zonda More than 1 year ago
You left out Red Rocks From your list also. 2006 BC turf winner. He managed a GR3 win in Europe, but his other two G1's were in the USA.
Pagani Zonda More than 1 year ago
Match that list of horses you provided to the also ran's from years circa 2003. Pebbles Dancing Brave Royal Academy Pilsudski Singspiel Swain Galileo Miesque Daylami Now the horses 2003 to present who have not shipped: Hurricane Run Zarkava Sea The Stars Dylan Thomas Treve Danedream Nathaniel Dalakhani Just to name a few. How about the Japanese who never sent Deep Impact, Stay Gold , Gentildonna, Gold ship? How about champion sprinters: Black Caviar Slade Power Rocketman Sole Power Cape O Good hope Choisir The Turf Sprint would be all won by foreign connections. Face the facts that the Breeders Cup is not a Draw anymore, and the chances of seeing a once in a lifetime horse like Dancing Brave or Singspiel are long gone.
Pagani Zonda More than 1 year ago
Ya and um FRANKEL, So You Think on Turf.
Pagani Zonda More than 1 year ago
The tracks have to bid on the event. Belmont has not submitted a bid, and neither has any other east coast track, except possibly Monmouth who want to host it again. Otherwise if Santa Anita and Churchill are all who bid, they get the event.
FESTUS ELROY More than 1 year ago
I agree the European season is over this time of year and all America gets is mostly 2nd tier but thier 2nd tier is better than our top tier 80% of the time and when they decide to ship to Santa Anita they win.All you have to do is look at the last 6 Breeders Cups at Santa Anita.They come ,steal the money and leave like Baffert at Zia Park!
FESTUS ELROY More than 1 year ago
Also,I never stated those were the best.The Arc (track)week/day gets the best.Japanese horses fare worst shipping west than American horses shipping east.
Scott Scheib More than 1 year ago
If you cannot afford to be there in person, watching BC races are just as good at home. If the big money bets because they are there, I am ok with that as BC races are the best pickins for making money in horse racing all year long. I will take a rich persons money just the same as the every day handicapper.
desurvivor . More than 1 year ago
And to top things off....Kentucky has a home football game scheduled for Breeders Cup Saturday......they use the same roads.
Walt Gekko More than 1 year ago
Which means unless Kentucky's game is moved to the Thursday nighter on ESPN, UK could force Keeneland to install lights so the BC at night (with Kentucky's game at Noon and the BC Saturday card starting around 4:00 PM ET or so), something Comcast (parent company of NBC) could force on Keeneland anyway if Comcast decides they want the BC telecast to run to 11:00 PM ET.
Joey W More than 1 year ago
I don't know why everyone is complaining. It's nothing more than the rich get richer. They do not want to be associated with the common man. They will be the elite in the seats and they will wager high dollar amount. Us little guys will be stuck betting on twinspires, tvg, otb, or local track. Got to live with it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
why complain