2015 Breeders' Cup could finds its way back to Kentucky
05/01/2014 11:19 AM
When the board of directors for The Breeders’ Cup meet in June one thing they will be discussing is the location of the 2015 Championships, and the front runner right now looks to be Keeneland.
The historic track, located in Versailles, opened in 1936 but has never hosted the Breeders’ Cup Championships. An event of this size is usually hosted at America’s larger tracks. Since 2008 the races have been held at either Santa Anita or Churchill Downs.
Speaking to bloodhorse.com on Wednesday, Keeneland CEO Bill Thomason said in regards to Breeders’ Cup negotiations: “We’re in the final stages of identifying the relationship between Keeneland and Breeders’ Cup, as well as the patron experience,” Thomason said. “We’re still working through the details to make this a reality.”
Part of that “patron experience” would be increasing the number of seating at Keeneland. The largest attendance at Keeneland was around 40,000 people where as the Breeders’ Cup may draw 50,000 to 60,000 people a day over the two-day card. Thomason went on to say, “We don’t have a 170,000-person facility, and we’re not going to build to that. We’re not going to mess with what you see [at Keeneland]. We will have to do it in a way to utilize our existing facility.”
This news comes on the heels of Keeneland’s announcement that they plan on removing their polytrack and switching back to dirt. Even though Polytrack is proven to be safer it never became the industry standard that many expected when Keeneland switched to it 8 years ago. Many of the top horse owners still prefer running on dirt which led to top horses electing not to run at Keeneland.
When discussing the decision to switch back to dirt with the Daily Racing Form earlier this month Thomason said, “The core of our mission at Keeneland is providing racing at the highest level… We are very proud of Polytrack and its safety record, and we believe it initiated a discussion that has made dirt tracks around the country even safer and better as well. We had hoped Polytrack would become the preferred surface, but for various reasons, that hasn’t happened. It wasn’t accepted the way we had hoped by horsemen and fans.”
The new dirt track will be ready for Keeneland’s fall meet in October.
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