Breeders’ Cup on Thursday announced host sites for the upcoming 2019, 2020, and 2021 Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
In 2019, the season-ending, two-day World Championships will be hosted at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California for the 10th time. The event will then return to Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky in 2020 and Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, California in 2021, following highly-successful debuts in 2015 and 2017 respectively.
The three-year announcement reflects Breeders’ Cup’s growth strategy to showcase the best racetracks across the country and allow for ample lead time to engage with local communities ahead of each event.
“We are extremely proud and excited to bring the Breeders’ Cup back to three of the country’s most beloved racetracks in California and Kentucky, all of which share our commitment to providing an exceptional race-day experience for horse racing enthusiasts and first-time guests alike,” said Craig Fravel, President and CEO of Breeders’ Cup Ltd.
“Breeders’ Cup events at Santa Anita, Keeneland and Del Mar have resulted in record success and overwhelming support from our fans around the world. We look forward to building upon past triumphs and to bringing the world’s best two days of Thoroughbred racing to these great racetracks and communities.”
In 2019, Santa Anita will host the Breeders’ Cup on Friday, November 1 and Saturday, November 2, for a record-breaking 10th time.
The World Championships will then return to Keeneland on November 6-7 in 2020 followed by Del Mar on November 5-6 in 2021, for the event’s second time at each track following flourishing debuts as host sites in 2015 and 2017, respectively.
Breeders’ Cup’s decision to return to Keeneland and Del Mar so quickly is a testament to the brand’s effort to offer an elevated fan experience by bringing the event to more intimate venues, a program that was validated by record-breaking ticket sales revenue and on-track wagering revenue at the 2015 and 2017 World Championships.
Situated by the San Gabriel Mountains, Santa Anita Park is one of the most iconic sports and horse racing venues in the world. In previous years, the world-renowned racetrack has invested over $35 million towards improved premium seating areas, racing surfaces and enhanced wagering product.
Additionally, Santa Anita Park will be investing $5 million to add new premium seating prior to the 2019 Breeders’ Cup with renovations to the 4th and 5th floor restaurants as well as new outdoor suites installed above the grandstand seating. Box seats and dining tables will also be added just past the finish line.
The 2016 Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita established a two-day attendance record of 118,484 spectators. Santa Anita is also the only track to have hosted the Breeders’ Cup for three consecutive years (2012-2014).
“We are thrilled to have the Breeders’ Cup back here at Santa Anita for a record 10th time in 2019,” said Tim Ritvo, COO for The Stronach Group.
“In addition to our existing amenities, we have several other high-end attractions that will be operational in 2019 and they will complement what has already been a terrific Breeders’ Cup customer experience through the years. With the investments we’ve made in our facilities and racing surfaces over the past several years and the new vision embraced by Belinda Stronach through our marketing and digital initiatives, Santa Anita is positioned to welcome the racing world back next year and, hopefully many more times in the future.”
Located in the heart of the Kentucky Bluegrass, Keeneland Race Course will host the Breeders’ Cup in 2020 for the second time following its inaugural year as a host site in 2015.
In preparation for the 2015 Breeders’ Cup, Keeneland underwent a miraculous transformation to accommodate the event’s large crowds, with luxury chalets and lounges set up on a temporary basis to provide fans with unique venues and experiences. The Friday and Saturday races drew a cumulative crowd of 95,102 attendees, breaking attendance records for Keeneland.
“The Bluegrass served as the ideal backdrop for the 2015 Breeders’ Cup and we could not be more excited to have Keeneland serve as the host of the 2020 edition of the World Championships,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said.
“Building on the success of the event for the industry and the community, we anticipate an even greater spectacle in 2020 and look forward to the Breeders’ Cup returning home once again.”
In 2021 Del Mar will also host its second Breeders’ Cup World Championships, following its debut in 2017. Known for its scenic locale and prestigious summer meets, Del Mar underwent an extensive development process to expand its luxury seating options and infield experiences for its first Breeders’ Cup.
The Breeders’ Cup debut at Del Mar ultimately boasted a record-breaking two-day on-track wagering record while also generating an estimated $96.8 million in economic benefits for San Diego County.
“Del Mar is delighted to again be hosting our sport’s championship days,” said Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s Chief Executive Officer Joe Harper. “We know we put on a good show here in 2017 and we look forward to presenting an even better one in 2021.”