05/25/2010 11:00PM

Part of Breeders' Cup will be run under lights

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Barbara D. Livingston
Permanent lights were installed at Churchill Downs last fall.

Portions of both Breeders' Cup cards this fall at Churchill Downs will be run under the lights, a development that had been anticipated since the new, permanent lights were installed at the track last fall.

In a press release on Wednesday, the Breeders' Cup announced that the $2 million Ladies' Classic, the premier event of the Friday, Nov. 5, card, will be run under the lights, with a scheduled post time of 7:30 p.m. Eastern, 50 minutes after sundown.

But with the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Saturday, Nov. 6, being scheduled for 6:45 p.m., and with sundown in Louisville, Ky., that day at 6:39, according to the almanac at Weather Underground, that means the Classic will run in twilight, and the lights are likely to be used for that race, too.

"No question. That's what they're there for," John Asher, the vice president of racing communications for Churchill Downs, said Wednesday. "Especially if we get a 1988 day, which most people will tell you was the debut of night racing at Churchill Downs."

In 1988 at Churchill Downs, on a rainy, cloudy day, the Classic was run in gloaming that made vision of the race difficult for live patrons. For television viewers, sophisticated camera equipment made it seem as though there was more light.

Both cards this year will be televised by ESPN. This is the seventh year that Churchill Downs has played host to the Breeders' Cup, a record.

No previous Breeders' Cup has been run under lights. Asked if this development could conceivably pave the way for a Kentucky Derby to be run under the lights in future years, Asher said, "You never say never, but at this point, there's absolutely no plans for that."

First post time for the Nov. 5 card is scheduled for 2 p.m. The Nov. 6 program is scheduled to begin at 12:05 p.m. Last year, six Breeders' Cup races were run on Friday, and eight on Saturday, with other races filling out the card.

Tickets for both days are scheduled to go on sale at noon Eastern on June 5, which happens to also be the date of the Belmont Stakes. No site has yet been selected for the 2011 Breeders' Cup, though Belmont Park is among the candidates.

Additional ticketing information, including a pre-sale and a VIP sweepstakes, can be found at . Tickets can also be purchased through the toll-free number 1-877-TIX-4CUP.

Reserved seat prices begin at $20 for the Friday card, and $40 for the Saturday card. General admission tickets, priced at $10 for Friday and $20 for Saturday, will go on sale on Oct. 5, and only will be available online. That is a savings of $5 over the walk-up general admission prices of $15 for Friday and $25 Saturday.