10/23/2015 10:55AM

Community events surround Breeders' Cup

Email

By Joe Nevills and Nicole Russo

Hosting the Breeders’ Cup at Keene-land will bring fans and participants from around the world to Lexington, Ky., some for the first time, and the local community has embraced the occasion.

A number of events will be held across Central Kentucky in the days leading up to the Breeders’ Cup to showcase local culture, both in and out of the Thoroughbred industry. As one of the smallest metropolitan areas to host a Breeders’ Cup, Lexington provides a unique visitor experience from previous host cities.

“This is a monumental time for Keeneland nearly 80 years in the making,” Keeneland president Bill Thomason said. “We are thrilled to welcome the Thoroughbred racing world and its fans for a historic month of racing and activities that will showcase not only Keeneland but the entire Central Kentucky community.”

The majority of community events in Lexington leading up to the Breeders’ Cup on Oct. 30-31 have been organized through the KentuckyOne Health Breeders’ Cup Festival Week, which includes a number of cultural events in downtown Lexington, such as exhibits by local and national artists and musical performances. The popular Kentucky Theater will hold screenings of racing-centric movies “Dreamer” and “Secretariat” – both featuring scenes shot at Keeneland. The city also will honor great rider Oliver Lewis with a public art display on the Oliver Lewis Bridge and a fireworks show and celebration in the nearby Distillery District the evening of Wednesday, Oct. 28. Members of the Keeneland jockey colony are expected to attend.

“We’re cleaning up, sprucing up, and gearing up for a week full of festivities,” Lexington mayor Jim Gray said. “We’re getting ready for our hometown, Keene-land, and our Thoroughbred industry to be the center of attention on a world stage. This is the Horse Capital of the World, and the Breeders’ Cup is an opportunity for us to show everyone just why we deserve that title.”

The world-renowned Kentucky Bourbon Trail will be showcased with the Bourbon Backstretch at The Livery on East Main Street the evenings of Wednesday (Master Distillers’ Night) and Friday and Saturday (Tasting Nights). Tickets include samples of various Kentucky bourbons.

Two Breeders’ Cup legends will be honored by the local community during the lead-up to this year’s event. Kicking off the week, on Monday morning, the Triangle Foundation will honor Breeders’ Cup founder John Gaines with a bronze plaque in Thoroughbred Park’s hall of fame.

Cigar provided one of the defining moments in Breeders’ Cup history when capping a perfect season in the 1995 Classic. The champion died in October 2014 at the Kentucky Horse Park, where on Tuesday a statue will be unveiled in his honor.

The Headley-Whitney Museum will host “Highlighting the Championships: A Breeders’ Cup Collection,” showcasing memorabilia daily from the previous 31 editions of the event, including the 1992 Sports Emmy Award for outstanding live sports special, earned by NBC for its coverage of that year’s card.

Equine enthusiasts, with or without tickets to the Breeders’ Cup, will have plenty of opportunities to get a close look at this year’s participants. Keeneland will host Sunrise Trackside during morning training hours, which is free and open to the public. The team behind Triple Crown winner American Pharoah – owner Ahmed Zayat, trainer Bob Baffert, and jockey Victor Espinoza – will be available at a pair of ticketed events. Thoroughbred Charities of America will host “An Evening with Team American Pharoah” on Tuesday, with a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception. The following evening, the team will be honored with the Mr. Fitz Award for typifying the spirit of racing at the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters awards dinner. The event features a silent auction, with items including halters worn by American Pharoah and champion racemare Beholder.

Horse Country Inc., a new not-for-profit organization comprising farms, medical clinics, and other equine attractions, will provide a central booking outlet for tours during Breeders’ Cup Festival Week.

“Kentucky has a wealth of tradition and history in the equine industry, and visitors flock to our racing and sport facilities, but it’s sometimes challenging to access the farms and clinics,” said Anne Sabatino Hardy, executive director of the organization. “There is tremendous demand for experiences at those locations, and for encounters with the horse. We believe that opening the gates and providing memorable experiences will make true fans of our farms and clinics.”

Farms involved with the effort include Adena Springs, Airdrie Stud, Coolmore’s Ashford Stud, Blackwood, Brookdale Farm, Claiborne, Crestwood, Darby Dan, Darley, Denali Stud, Diamond A, Gainesway, Hermitage, Hurstland, Keene Ridge, Lane’s End, Mill Ridge, Mt. Brilliant, Pin Oak Stud, Runnymede, Saxony, Siena, Spendthrift, St. George, Stone, Stonestreet, Taylor Made Stallions, Three Chimneys, WinStar, and Winter Quarter.

WinStar Farm will host a major event Breeders’ Cup week when it presents Taste of the World on Thursday, Oct. 29. The VIP invite-only event will be hosted by chef and racehorse owner Bobby Flay and will have a special live performance by country music artist Tim McGraw.

Breeders’ Cup Week events
Sunday, Oct. 25

7 a.m. Sunrise Trackside at Keeneland. Catch all the early morning action at Keeneland as the Breeders’ Cup contenders put in their final preparations. Free and open to the public.
9 a.m. Art exhibits, various locations. Lexington’s art galleries present distinct art shows. Each locale will feature its own offering of diverse art showcases including local, national, and international artists. For more information: www.breederscupfestial.com/art-exhibits. Free.
9 a.m. Thoroughbred Makeover, Kentucky Horse Park. The featured event of the Retired Racehorse Project is the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, in which 350 recently retired racehorses who have been retrained in one of 10 different disciplines will compete for $100,000 in cash and prizes.
12 p.m. Horse farm tours. A rare opportunity to experence behind-the-scenes tours at Kentucky’s iconic stud operations and nurseries, world-renowned veterinary clinics, and more. For more information: http://breederscupfestival.com/horse-farm-tours-2
2 p.m.  5K Fun Run and Walk, “Kentucky For Kentucky,” Kentucky Horse Park. For more information: www.ky4ky5k.
8 p.m. Kentucky Ale Stage, Courthouse Plaza. Featured artist: Here Come the Mummies. Free.
8 p.m. Thriller Parade, downtown Lexington. The world’s largest reenactment of Michael Jackson’s epic video winds its way through downtown. Free.

Monday, Oct. 26
7 a.m. Sunrise Trackside at Keeneland.
8 a.m. and 12 P.M. Horse farm tours, various tour options. See Sunday listing for details.
9 a.m. Art exhibits, various locations. See Sunday listing for details.
10:30 a.m. John Gaines plaque dedication, Thoroughbred Park. The Triangle Foundation will recognize John Gaines, founder of the Breeders’ Cup, for his positive impact on the Thoroughbred industry with a bronze plaque in the park’s hall of fame.
5 p.m. Breeders’ Cup Draw Party, Bourbon Lounge at Keeneland. This event will give invited guests the opportunity to mix and mingle with the owners, trainers, and jockeys for the Breeders’ Cup.
6 p.m. Cheapside Park music, Cheapside Pavilion. Featured artist: Tim Talbert Project. Free.
6:45 p.m. Kentucky Ale Stage, Courthouse Plaza. Featured artists: Ben Lacy and Tee Dee Young. Free.

Tuesday, Oct. 27
7 a.m. Sunrise Trackside at Keeneland.
8 a.m. and 12 P.M. Horse farm tours, various tour options. See Sunday listing for details.
9 a.m. Art exhibits, various locations. See Sunday listing for details.
3 p.m. Cigar statue dedication, Kentucky Horse Park. One of racing’s all-time great horses and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Cigar will have a statue unveiled in his honor. Open to the public.
6 p.m. Betting the Breeders’ Cup – Daily Racing Form Handicapping Event, Grand Reserve. Learn how to handicap and bet what many consider the best wagering opportunity in all of racing. DRF handicappers Mike Watchmaker and Mike Welsch, NBC racing analyst Randy Moss, and Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey will give attendees insight into the betting opportunities for the upcoming weekend’s racing. Tickets are $125 per person, which includes a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception. To purchase tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/betting-the-breeders-cup-daily-racing-form-handicapping-event-tickets-18401322852.
6 p.m. Cheapside Park music, Cheapside Pavilion. Featured artist: Ralph Curtin & The Nashville Imposters. Free.
6:45 p.m. Kentucky Ale Stage, Courthouse Plaza. Featured artist: The Suffers. Opening artist: The Trendells. Free.
7 to 9 p.m. An Evening with Team American Pharoah, Fasig-Tipton ballroom. Horse Racing Radio Network’s Mike Penna speaks with owners Ahmed and Justin Zayat and trainer Bob Baffert about the history-making career of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. Tickets are $75 per person and include cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. For more information: http://www.tca.org/tap.html.

Wednesday, Oct. 28
7 a.m. Sunrise Trackside at Keeneland.
8 a.m. and 12 p.m. Horse farm tours, various tour options. See Sunday listing for details.
9 a.m. Art exhibits, various locations. See Sunday listing for details.
Noon to 6 p.m. Kentucky Crafted, The Livery. The Kentucky Arts Council presents an exceptional opportunity: a curated shopping experience at the Livery. This one-of-a-kind event features fine arts and crafts by top Kentucky artists, in a comfortable, rustic setting.
6 to 10 p.m. Bourbon Backstretch – Master Distillers’ Night, The Livery. Join the members and Master Distillers of the world-renowned Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour and sample the best bourbon that the Bluegrass has to offer. Tickets are $100 per person. For tickets: https://eventgrid.com/Events/17894/bourbon-backstretch-master-distillers-night/Dates/18481.
6 p.m. National Turf Writers and Broadcasters 56th annual awards dinner, Griffin Gate Marriott. Honorees will include American Pharoah and his team, Tom Hammond, Tim Layden, Cathy Schenck, and Bill Mooney. Tickets for the awards dinner are $75 for NTWAB members and $100 for non-members and guests. For tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ntwab-56th-annual-awards-dinner-tickets-18434861166.
6 p.m. Cheapside Park music, Cheapside Pavilion. Featured artist: Coralee and The Townies. Free.
6:45 p.m. Kentucky Ale Stage, Courthouse Plaza. Featured artists: Travelin’ McCourys and Town Mountain. Opening artist: The Wooks. Free.
7:15 p.m. Equestrian films, Kentucky Theatre. Enjoy a special feature equestrian film at a historic downtown theater. Feature film: “Dreamer.” Tickets are $6 per person.
7:30 p.m. Oliver Lewis Way Bridge Lighting and Fireworks, Newtown Pike at Main Street. Paying tribute to the great rider, join local officials and members of the Breeders’ Cup jockey colony as the public art display goes live for the first night on the Oliver Lewis Bridge. A fireworks show and celebration continues after in the nearby Distillery District.

Thursday, Oct. 29
9 a.m. Art exhibits, various locations.
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Kentucky Crafted, The Livery. See Wednesday listing for details.
10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Breeders’ Cup garlands will be created at the Kroger Floral Design Center, Versailles. Free and open to the public.
11 a.m. Prelude to the Cup, Keeneland. Live Thoroughbred racing. For more information: www.keeneland.com.
6 p.m. Cheapside Park music, Cheapside Pavilion. Featured artist: Swing Street. Free.
6:45 p.m. Kentucky Ale Stage, Courthouse Plaza. Featured artist: Stooges Brass Band. Opening artist: The Big Maracas. Free.
7:15 p.m. Equestrian films, Kentucky Theatre. Enjoy a special feature equestrian film at a historic downtown theater. Feature film: “Secretariat.” Tickets are $6 per person.

Friday, Oct. 30
9 a.m. Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Keeneland. Join the excitement as the top Thoroughbreds from around the world descend on Lexington, Ky., to decide who is the best of the best.
9 a.m. Art exhibits, various locations. See Sunday listing for details.
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Kentucky Crafted, The Livery. See Wednesday listing for details.
10 a.m. Breeders’ Cup Bash, Red Mile. Watch, wager, and celebrate at the biggest party in town at the newly renovated Red Mile. A full offering of food, music, and drinks will be presented from the first to the last race.
6 to 10 p.m. Bourbon Backstretch – Tasting Night, The Livery. Join the members of the world-renowned Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour and sample the best bourbon that the Bluegrass has to offer. Tickets are $50 per person and includes Kentucky-themed cuisine and live entertainment. For tickets: http://eventgrid.com/Events/17893.
6 p.m. Cheapside Park music, Cheapside Pavilion. Featured artist: Zeb Harrison & the Sound of Praise; Kenny Owens and Group Therapy. Free.
6:45 p.m. Kentucky Ale Stage, Courthouse Plaza. Featured artist: JD McPherson. Free.
7 p.m. Guest Chef Night, Spindletop Hall. Celebrity chefs Aaron Sanchez, Matt Lambert, and Janine Booth will take part in a Guest Chef Night. Each chef will create one course of a delicious meal. Open to the public. For more information: www.spindletophall.org or call (859) 255-2777.

Saturday, Oct. 31
9 a.m. Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Keeneland. Join the excitement as the top Thoroughbreds from around the world descend on Lexington, Ky., to decide who is the best of the best.
9 a.m. Art exhibits, various locations. See Sunday listing for details.
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Kentucky Crafted, The Livery. See Thursday listing for details.
10 a.m. Breeders’ Cup Bash, Red Mile. Watch, wager, and celebrate at the biggest party in town at the newly renovated Red Mile. A full offering of food, music, and drinks will be presented from the first to the last race.
6 to 10 p.m. Bourbon Backstretch – Tasting Night, The Livery. See Friday listing for details.
6 p.m. Cheapside Park music, Cheapside Pavilion. Featured artist: The Swells. Free.
6:45 p.m. Kentucky Ale Stage, Courthouse Plaza. Featured artist: The Wags. Opening artist: The Twiggenburys. Free.