Keeneland, Santa Anita, Del Mar Reportedly to Host Breeders’ Cups

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (June 17, 2014) -- The Breeders' Cup is returning to Kentucky after what will be a four-year absence — but not to Churchill Downs.

Instead, the 2015 Breeders' Cup will be at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington.

Lexington-based Breeders' Cup Ltd. is expected to announce this month that the next three sites after this year's running at Santa Anita Park in California, according to two sources with knowledge of the plans. Next year would be at Keeneland, followed by a return to Santa Anita in Arcadia in 2016 and then Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in San Diego in 2017, they said.

A Breeders' Cup spokesman has said the organization isn't commenting, and several board members declined to discuss plans when called individually. Among them, Chairman Bill Farish of Lanes End Farm said an announcement is close and said it would be around June 24.

It would be the first time the fall thoroughbred championships would be held at Keeneland or Del Mar — both of which are viewed as among the most picturesque racetracks in the country, with Keeneland nestled in the Bluegrass and Del Mar by the Pacific Ocean. The schedule means Santa Anita would become the most frequent host of the two-day event; it already was set to tie Churchill Downs for that distinction this year at eight times.

The schedule also would ensure the longest absence of the Breeders' Cup at Churchill — at least seven years — despite the fact that the track has recorded the event's largest crowds and biggest betting totals.

Last year, when the 2014 decision was announced, the Breeders' Cup said not choosing Churchill was not a criticism of the track. But the two sides have differed over financial terms in past years, with representatives of both sides saying publicly that they wanted a better deal.