Mathea Kelley

Breeders' Cup to Keeneland, California Tracks

Breeders' Cup announces Keeneland, Santa Anita Park, and Del Mar as next three sites.

Breeders' Cup Ltd. announced June 24 that the 2015 World Championships will be held Oct. 30-31 at Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, will return to Santa Anita Park in 2016, and will be held at Del Mar in 2017.

The announcement of the next three host sites at one time, including the inclusion of two tracks that have not previously hosted the races, is a key element of the company's long-term strategy to elevate the Breeders' Cup stature as a preeminent luxury sports and entertainment event, the Breeders' Cup said in a release.

"The multi-year host site decision is part of a forward-thinking growth strategy to showcase the best of what Thoroughbred racing has to offer and is an extension of the brand's 'The Best Is Yet To Come' campaign, which promises a curated Thoroughbred racing experience that will attract the best horses, the best owners and the best marketing partners," the release said.

"In solidifying the Breeders' Cup World Championships as a leading global event in Thoroughbred racing, we are very pleased to align ourselves with three of the world's premier racetracks in Keeneland, Santa Anita and Del Mar," said Craig Fravel, Breeders' Cup president and CEO, in a statement. "The outstanding reputations and historic achievements of each of these venues, coupled with our enhanced platform of marketing and experiential initiatives, provide us with an excellent opportunity to grow our audience by combining the best that horse racing and entertainment have to offer."

Santa Anita, which is hosting the World Championships for the third consecutive time this year, will again hold the races Nov. 4-5, 2016. Del Mar will host the event Nov. 3-4, 2017.

"The Breeders' Cup at Keeneland is a homecoming for many of these great champions who were foaled and raised at Central Kentucky farms, and often sold at Keeneland," said Keeneland president and CEO Bill Thomason in a statement. "The Keeneland team feels that sense of connection and history with the Breeders' Cup, and we look forward to offering fans an extraordinary racing and entertainment experience."

Santa Anita Park will be hosting the Breeders' Cup for a record ninth time in 2016. Located in Arcadia, Cal., Santa Anita became the first track to host the Breeders' Cup in three consecutive years, having been the showcase in 2012, 2013 and this year.

"We are excited and grateful to host the 2016 Breeders' Cup World Championships," said Tom Ludt, president of Santa Anita Park. "Santa Anita Park offers horsemen, local fans and our many out-of-town guests the opportunity to experience the best that the sport has to offer, from racing to dining and hospitality. We look forward to working with the Breeders' Cup to put on a very successful event both this year and again in 2016."

Del Mar, situated just off the Pacific Ocean, annually hosts one of America's most popular race meetings from mid-July through early September, and is one of the nation's leaders in daily attendance and wagering.

"We've had many wonderful racing events and thousands of special racing people be part of our rich history at Del Mar," said Del Mar Thoroughbred Club president and CEO Joe Harper. "But bringing the Breeders' Cup horses, horsemen and their worldwide fans to our seaside showplace in 2017 just might be our show of shows."