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Ten Things To Know About The Breeders’ Cup


The Breeders’ Cup begins tomorrow afternoon and many of you still don’t know what the hell it is. So let’s fix that.

Below you’ll find ten important pieces of information about the Breeders’ Cup, from its history to its 32nd annual running at Keeneland.

If you’re still clueless after this, don’t worry about. Just keep your eyes on that Tennessee game on Saturday.


1.) It’s the richest two days in horse racing.

$26 million will be paid out in purses and awards over two days of racing, making it the richest event in the sport. That money will go to the horse owners and nominators, not the horses themselves. Horses can’t receive money because they are horses, which makes sense.

The winning owner in each race will receive 55 percent of the total purse; so for example, whoever wins the Breeders’ Cup Classic will take home $2.75 million of the $5 million gross purse. Again, that will be awarded to the owner of the winning horse, not the winning horse itself.

Owners share the winnings with the jockeys and trainers on their own terms.

2.) Lexington is hosting for the very first time.

Unless you’re somewhere far away from Kentucky, you probably know by now that Lexington is the Breeders’ Cup’s host city this year, marking the first time it has come to town in its 32 years of existence.

The races will be held at Keeneland Racecourse, but not the Keeneland you know and love and have blurry memories of from years past.

No, this weekend’s Keeneland has a new look and will accommodate 10,000 additional fans in temporary structures, which include two Trackside Chalets, two Club Lawn Chalets, the Maker’s Mark Bourbon Lounge, Saddling Paddock Chalet, Breakfast Marquee and Grandstand Loge Boxes. Several other renovations and upgrades were made as well.

3.) Breeders’ Cup attendance ranks fourth in North America.

Its attendance trails only the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Kentucky Oaks — and in some years, the Belmont Stakes.

This year, Keeneland expects to host between 42,000 and 45,000 people each day.

That is a lot of rich people in one place.

4.) It was created as a year-end championship for North American Thoroughbred racing.

The late John R. Gaines of Gainesway Farms in Lexington is credited with the creation of the Breeders’ Cup. He proposed the idea of a year-end championship during the 1982 awards luncheon at the Kentucky Derby Festival, with hopes of cleaning up the sport’s image.

The first Breeders’ Cup event was held two years later in Hollywood Park in 1984.

5.) It used to be a one-day event. 

But then, some time before the 2007 Breeders’ Cup, a bunch of people got together and were like: “Man, this is a lot of fun; let’s run it back a second day!”

And that’s how it became a two-day event, probably.

6.) American Pharoah will be the first Triple Crown winner to contest a Breeders’ Cup race.

A.P., as he’s known around the stables, arrived in Lexington yesterday and got an early morning run in today.

He will race in Saturday’s main event with hopes of joining Ferdinand, Alysheba, Sunday Silence and Unbridled as the only Kentucky Derby winners to win the $5 million Classic.

A win will also give Pharoah horse racing’s first Grand Slam and the distinction of being the best ever.

7.) 11 different tracks have taken turns staging the event.

Churchill Downs shares the lead with Santa Anita, each having hosted the Breeders’ Cup eight times. The Cup was last held at Churchill in back to back years in 2010 and 2011.

Lexington is better.

8.) You can go without actually going.

Does that make sense?

In case you missed it, here is how you can be at the Breeders’ Cup without actually going in: Tailgate On The Hill

9.) Kate Upton is coming to town.

I need to find a way to lose 20 pounds and get handsome and get rich by tomorrow afternoon. In other words, I need a miracle.

Listening to Herb Brooks’ pregame speech on repeat in the shower in the morning.

10.) The city is excited. And nervous.

Lexington has already been entertaining its guests with the Breeders’ Cup Festival going on all week, all over the city. Tomorrow, things will really pick up around town when the Breeders’ Cup officially begins out at Keeneland.

This is Lexington’s one shot to prove it is capable of hosting a worldwide event like the Breeders’ Cup, and only time will tell if it passes or fails. There is certainly no shortage of events, restaurants and bourbon — a serious job well done by the community — but we’re about to find out if we’re up to the challenge, logistically.

If you’re out and about at all tonight or the weekend, soak it all up and enjoy the festivities. And if you see me wandering around downtown, say hello. I’ll be the guy with Kate Upton.


Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

23 Comments for Ten Things To Know About The Breeders’ Cup

  1. Breeders' Cup
    8:27 pm October 29, 2015 Permalink

    Have 4 Maker’s Mark Bourbon Lounge tix for sale.

  2. Yoda
    10:25 pm October 29, 2015 Permalink

    Lexington has already proven it can host a worldwide event: the World Equestrian Games. Yes, the Breeders’ Cup will draw more, but the WEG was definitely world-class and nothing to shake a stick at.

    • CW
      11:54 pm October 29, 2015 Permalink

      Agreed, I don’t think the Breeder’s Cup is something to measure how well this city can handle a worldwide event when the WEG attracted much more people. The Breeders’ Cup will attract a lot of people, but the WEG is a worldwide event, and is a different phenomenon from the Breeders’ Cup. With that said, Lexington is going to be a fun city to live in this weekend.

    • ClutchCargo
      11:16 am October 30, 2015 Permalink

      The logistics for having something this big at Keeneland are a lot different than at a place built especially for the WEG and designed to handle the traffic and crowds.

  3. Cousins Fake Tooth
    11:52 pm October 29, 2015 Permalink

    I only need to know 1 thing. And that is nothing. Who cares.

  4. SP
    12:39 am October 30, 2015 Permalink

    The all new Red Mile is also hosting the Breeders Cup Bash on Friday and Saturday in conjuction with Keeneland.

  5. Aphrodite
    1:04 am October 30, 2015 Permalink

    Man, Lexington is so much cooler (and less prostitute-like) than Louisiville.

  6. Megan
    1:55 am October 30, 2015 Permalink

    American Pharoah has a chance to win the Grand Slam, something not even the great Secretariat could do. Or Seattle Slew. Or Affirmed. Or Elvis Presley.

    Upton was on Fallon tonight talking about the Breeders Cup, and she said she wanted to make out with American Pharoah. I swear. Fallon asked if she meant the jockey, and she said no, the horse. Fallon was thrown for a loop and didn’t know what to say. It was uncomfortable. He couldn’t even make a joke about it. “What’s happening here?” he muttered to himself.

    Okay then, as they say in Fargo.

    • Chance at best ever?
      9:12 am October 30, 2015 Permalink

      Sorry but Secretariat would have beaten AP by 15 lengths in the Derby and punished him into an also ran, just like Sham, in the Belmont. But AP is certainly the best of this years crop and deserving winner of the Triple Crown and maybe the newly designated Grand Slam.

  7. Douggercats
    4:48 am October 30, 2015 Permalink

    From Jerry Izenburg, long-time reporter for the NJ Star Ledger, on horseracing:

    I once knew a very smart groom named Shotgun Foley, who once said:
    “You are a little young so lemme tell you something and if you plan to stay in this business never disremember it. Hosses is much smarter than peoples. You don’t see no hosses standing in no line to bet on no peoples.”

  8. Nerds
    7:07 am October 30, 2015 Permalink

    Keeneland is a better venue than Churchill Downs. No question. However, Lexington pales in comparison to Louisville as a city.

    • Nerds
      8:39 am October 30, 2015 Permalink

      Yoda – At least we agree on the track. Lack of scenery? How about one of the best park systems in the country? I lived in Lexington for years…it’s nice. The horse farms and rolling hill are gorgeous and gives Louisville a run for its money, but Lexington is really a glorified college town. Different strokes for different folks.

    • Jeff
      9:29 am October 30, 2015 Permalink


      You might actually want to look up some statistics next time instead of just parroting the common misconceptions. Per Capita, Lexington actually has the highest crime rate of any city in a 300 mile radius. Louisville actually has a lower crime rate per capita out of any city in its radius. I work in statistics so I deal with this stuff daily. Just kills me when I hear people spouting about something they know nothing about. The entire north half of Lexington is nothing but ghetto anyways, so it is easy to see how this could be true. Where as The ghetto in Louisville is only a small fraction of the total city area. Apples and oranges man. peace

    • Parakeet
      10:07 am October 30, 2015 Permalink

      Speaking of knowing nothing, and spouting off about it, your comment that the “entire north half of Lexington is nothing but ghetto” is really, really stupid. Peace yourself dumbass.

    • Blue'd
      10:09 am October 30, 2015 Permalink

      I’m sorry, but I have to interject here. Lack of Scenery? have you ever even been to Louisville? I lived there for 10 years doing contracting (Back in Lexington now) and their parks are amazing. There was a period of time that I would go for a daily morning run every day for a couple of years. Their parks are famous for being designed by Fredrick L. Olmstead, The guy that designed Central Park In New York City. Cherokee park in particular is just stellar in the spring, summer and early fall. Not to mention, if you are a fan of camping and being outdoorsy in general, Their Jefferson Memorial forest is the largest Urban forest in the country. I have camped many a weekend there. Great scenery in Louisville, Kentucky.

    • Jeff
      10:16 am October 30, 2015 Permalink


      Now, How am I wrong in saying that? It is the truth. Do you live in Lexington or out in the state? I hate to break it to ya, but all of north Lexington is about as run down as it gets. I have never feared more for my safety than when I am caught up there late at night. Honest to god thought it was my last night on earth once when I stopped in a family dollar around 9 PM. nothing but ghetto. Heck, as you drive into lexington from easten ky, you get a good look at it. North Broadway is straight up ROUGH. Compton type stuff.

    • Parakeet
      11:21 am October 30, 2015 Permalink

      I live in Lexington, and have since 1980. I attended Transylvania University and lived there and north of 4th street for several years. I would be just as fearful going to Centre Parkway in South Lexington, west of Versailles rd. in West Lexington, or in the Woodhill area of East Lexington. Just as I could point out wonderful, safe, clean areas and neighborhoods in all 4 area of Lexington.

      I could point out unsafe areas mingled in with clusters of beautiful neighborhoods in any city, including Louisville and in whatever city you live.

      Just pointing out the irony of you chastising Yoda for making uninformed blanket stereotypical comments and then doing the same thing yourself. You said ” entire north half of Lexington is nothing but ghetto”. That is flat wrong and totally stupid.

      Stopping at a Family Dollar once at 9 pm is hardly an adequate sample size oh great statistician.

    • Jeff
      11:50 am October 30, 2015 Permalink


      I am sorry that you took offense to my statement, but unfortunately one stop at that store in north lexington wasn’t my only sample size. I, too, lived in lexington for years, and it is pretty well known in my friend group that you just do not go north of main street after dark. Of course, it gets increasingly worse the further you go north, but we just never really risked it.
      I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but as I stated, I do work in statistics and city data. It is just a plain fact that Lexington has a much higher crime rate than any major city in this part of the country per capita. I fully realize that different cities have different areas, and I understand that ALL of north lexington may not be bad… but, enough of it is to safely say not to go their after dark. Period.

    • Jeff
      11:51 am October 30, 2015 Permalink


    • Jeff
      11:55 am October 30, 2015 Permalink

      The different between yoda and I is that he is completely operating on a lie. A lie continually perpetrated by people out in this state that Louisville has a higher crime rate. That isn’t a blanket stereotype, that is just cut and dry misinformation.
      While my statement was somewhat blanketed, I admit that, it isn’t based off of a lie. In fact, it is based on data. Data that I deal with daily. Lexington has a much higher crime rate than Louisville per capita. thats just facts

  9. Taylor Swift
    8:52 am October 30, 2015 Permalink

    I don’t like the Kate Upton references.

  10. Sin The'
    9:03 am October 30, 2015 Permalink

    Every home game at Rupp is a worldwide sporting event.