The Race 0f the Champions
Welcome to the Breeders’ Cup 2020 Guide for Keeneland. This is you need to know:
After this guide, you’ll be ready for Breeders’ Cup 2020. See what it’s about.
The Breeders’ Cup is a two-day festival of top International racing with 14 Championship races on turf and dirt. The venue alters every season but it has only been staged once outside of the United States when it was held at the Woodbine Racetrack in Canada in 1996.
There is always a strong European challenge and they have been increasingly successful, particularly in the turf races. The meeting was first staged in 1984 as a single day but was extended to two in 2007. The Blue Riband event is the $5 million Classic that brings the meeting to a close.
Highlights include victory for Cigar in 1995 and a heart-breaking first and only defeat for Zenyatta in 2010. In the same year, the French-trained mare Goldikova became the most successful horse in the history of the Breeders’ Cup when she took the mile for a third consecutive season.
Keeneland racecourse may not be the same size as Churchill Downs, but you can expect a top facility with fine dining and a fantastic turf. The Grand Stand has 5 levels and roughly 15,000 seats, and other race track commodities such as:
Keeneland’s’ principle race is the Blue Grass Stakes Grade II in April, with a purse of $1,000,000. You’ll also find The Kentucky racecourse is considered to be one of the best racecourses in the world and voted no.1 in 2009 across the US.
One of the most recent memories (and greatest), was American Pharaoh’s Breeders’ Cup Classic win in 2015. After claiming the prestige Triple Crown (Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Belmont), American Pharaoh had his final race before retirement. The race was the only Breeders’ Cup Classic in Keeneland to date. Will 2020 see another grand slam race?
Keeneland Racecourse opened its gates from 1936 owned then by Jack Keene, as a non-profit race. 1984 was a historic moment, with a visit from Queen Elizabeth the second, which led to the Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup Stakes. In 1986 Keeneland has become renowned as an official historical landmark by the National Register of Historic Places.
You have 2 main options to watch the races:
If you’re on the grounds, the atmosphere is much more vibrant, but the view is much more limited.
If you’re at the grandstand (from level 2 up to 5), you’ll see the race much with a better view, but the atmosphere is more relaxed.
I would choose the grandstand, but that’s because watching the races is an important aspect for me.
Keeneland has a mixed dress code of casual, casual business, and formal. Anywhere that’s not the grandstand, the dress code is light casual, such as jeans and a t-shirt. In contrast, the grandstand has 2 dress codes:
Business casual means no jeans and a t-shirt, but a sports jacket and a dress can fit right in. If you’re reserving a place at the Phoenix Dining Room or the Saddling Paddock Chalet, notice your business casual wear most be modest. These are the exact dress codes stated from Keeneland regarding the latterly two dining rooms:
Collared shirts, slacks, and dress shoes.
Clothing of comparable formality to gentlemen.
Denim – regardless of color, slacks that are designed to resemble jeans, shorts (including rompers), clothing, or shoes that resemble athletic attire, flip-flops, abbreviated, or revealing attire.
*Dress code rules do not apply to children 12 and under.”
Business formal means a complete suit, and for the ladies, it’s advised to wear a formal dress. The code applies to the Lexington/Kentucky Dining Room and other VIP areas in Keeneland. The official dress codes from Keeneland states:
Suits or sport coats, dress slacks, dress shirt with collar and tie. Dress shoes and dress socks.
Clothing of comparable formality to gentlemen, including but not limited to skirts, dresses, tailored pantsuit or dress slacks.
Denim – regardless of color, slacks designed to resemble jeans, shorts (including rompers), clothing or shoes that resemble athletic attire, abbreviated or revealing attire.
*Dress code rules do not apply to children 12 and under.“
In 2019 the tickets for general admission was $15 on Friday and $25 for Saturday. In 2018 the prices for GA were $20 on Friday and $40 on Saturday. Since the tickets haven’t been released yet, the prices for the different venue options vary.
The Ante Post list has some promising contenders for the Breeder’s Cup Classic 2020. Tiz The Law and Maximum Security (each 5/1) are leading the odds with Charlatan (8/1) not far behind.
The Breeders’ Classic Cup 2019 race with contenders and odds(subject to change) is finished. You can see the full racecard below. Vino Rosso is the Breeders’ Cup 2019 Classic champion.
Breeders’ Cup is one of the best races in the world to attend. Combined with the magnificent Keeneland racecourse, there’s no better horse race in November (expect Melbourne Cup).
Tickets sell quickly for the Breeders’ Cup. Don’t delay – reserve your tickets for today!
In 2015. This was the only Breeders’ Cup in Keeneland (until November 2020).
Lexington Kentucky is famous for its horses, but there are other exciting things to do while you’re visiting the races. See 3 options below that may interest you:
While you’re scheduling your race day, you should consider a visit to Kentucky Horse Park. The place has events everything horse related – from meeting legends of thoroughbred races to a kids’ barn. There are activities for all ages. In wintertime (starting from November 4), you can see the museum of the horse and the American Saddlebred Museum.
Do you enjoy tasting some chocolate? Well, the Old Kentucky Chocolates in Lexington KY are experts in daily hand-maid chocolate. The family-owned chocolatiers have over 50 years of experience. Some of their unique craft includes chocolate pecan fudge and cherries covered in Kentucky bourbon and chocolate.
Are you an art fan? Institute 193 has the best contemporary art exhibition in Lexington KY. Initially, from 2009, the idea was to present contemporary art to the South East. The success of the Institute led to the second opening in New York. Besides the art, you can enjoy music performances, films, and lectures.
While there aren’t many places to stay in Lexington, the quality of the places worth it. All the places listed are from powered by Booking
I must admit: I’m a fan of the Hyatt hotels, and the Hyatt Regency Lexington keeps up with the high standards. The 4-star hotel located in the center of Lexington has all the required commodities (24-hour fitness center and breakfast), and a highly rated among visitors. Prices start from $140 per night, and there’s free cancellation.
Luxury and 21c Museum Hotel Lexington go hand in hand. The hotel opened its doors from 2015, and see the quality from the first moment. You can start your day at the complete fitness center and continue to a breakfast that will serve any need you might have. Prices start from $160 per night (depending on the season) and have free cancellation.
For a cheap hotel (starting from $59 per night) compared to the latter options, the hotel has the best money per value. For the same price, you get a larger room than the possibilities before, but also a clean hotel with your private bathroom.
Broadway Downtown/Keeneland/Medical Center is adjacent to the center of Lexington, and a 10-minute drive to the racetrack. Prices start from $59 per night (depending on the season), including breakfast and free cancellation.
When searching for a place to grab a bite in Lexington, you can choose between the dining options from Keeneland and Lexington KY, perhaps though both will be better.
As you probably know already, all racetracks have their very own restaurants, and Keeneland is no different. You can choose between 4 restaurants:
Fine dining with the local chefs, there’s a feeling of casual yet elegant. You’ll enjoy a full course meal, from starters to a New York Strip steak. Service, food, and atmosphere at Carson’s have high rates.
If your Vegan or vegetarian, Alfalfa is your best choice at Lexington KY. Alfalfa pride themselves on local and fresh ingredients, and rightfully so. The dining hub serves all meals, from appetizers to dinners. The casual spot is best for breakfast and brunches.
There’s no confusion about the place: Red State BBQ is an all American Grill eatery with one of the highest ratings among visitors in Lexington. The eatery is situated near the Horse Park (see above) on the road 25. If you’re searching for the complete meat dinner, Red State BBQ is your best option.
Keeneland Association must have made a deal with Blue Grass Airport since the racecourse is on the other side of the road. So if you decide to go the races straight from the airport, no problem at all. Shuttles will operate on the day of the races (more to come), and a taxi ride is around 5 minutes.
From the airport to Lexington center – the drive is around 10 minutes. Notice there is no public transportation offered, so you’ll have to take a taxi, uber, or drive there.
As you’ve probably realized already, there is no public transportation from the Lexington KY center to Keeneland. Similar to the airport, you can ride a taxi, uber, or drive there. Shuttles will also be available (more details soon).
Flights won’t make any sense here since driving or even taking a bus will get you there much faster. If you’re renting a car or driving your own, it will take you around an hour and a half to get there. You can also ride a bus from Louisville and Cincinnati, for around an hour and forty minutes.
The policy of Keeneland regarding parking is: first-come, first served. The parking is at rows 15-20 and 28-34, near the grandstand.
The event was created as a year-end championship for North American Thoroughbred racing but quickly attracted interest from Europe and elsewhere. The Breeders’ Cup World Championships was first staged in 1984 and is run by Breeders’ Cup Limited. It remained a single-day event until 2006 when it was expanded to two days in 2007.
The attendance at the event varies according to the capacity of the host track. Santa Anita Park set a new record two-day attendance of 118,484 in 2016. Total prize money exceeded $28 million in 2016 with $6 million of that being for the Classic.
Two Breeders’ Cup races are ranked among the top ten Grade 1 races in the world. The Classic is ranked fourth with the Turf tenth. The Mile and the Distaff are also regarded among the most prestigious races in their particular sphere.
Each Breeders’ Cup winner has a garland of flowers draped over their withers. The official flower garland is comprised of Beauty Asters, Golden Asters, Cremons and Catteleya Orchids.
The 2015 Breeders’ Cup was significant as it was the first time that a Triple Crown had been won since the inception of the event.
American Pharoah made all of the running to land the Breeders’ Cup Classic to crown a brilliant career. In 2016, Santa Anita hosted the Breeders’ Cup for a record ninth time with Arrogate running down California Chrome in the Classic.