HIGH MARKS FOR KEENELAND’S FIRST BREEDERS’ CUP; KEENELAND RECORD ATTENDANCE; HANDLE FIGURES FLAT WITH 2014
LEXINGTON, Ky. (October 31, 2015) – Racing fans could not be blamed if they were asking what took so long after a spectacular renewal of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, including Triple Crown winner American Pharoah’s history-making win in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, in its inaugural homecoming to iconic Keeneland Race Course, in the heart of the Thoroughbred industry in Central Kentucky.
The Lexington track easily accommodated Breeders’ Cup guests from around the world over the two days with 50,155 on hand Saturday, a record attendance for Keeneland, on top 44,947 on Friday, both a Keeneland record that stood for one day and a record attendance for a Breeders’ Cup Friday.
And the racing itself did not disappoint. Zayat Stable’s American Pharoah became horse racing’s first Grand Slam winner, ending his career by gliding to a six-length victory over Keeneland’s main track for trainer Bob Baffert. Popular sprinter Runhappy set a new track record in the Twin Spires Breeders’ Cup Sprint, and accomplished fillies Found (GB) and Tepin winning the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf and Breeders’ Cup Mile, respectively, running against males.
Total two-day common-pool handle for the Friday and Saturday race cards of the 32nd Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland was $150,574,656, representing a half percent decrease over 2014 common-pool total of $151,794,174.
Common-pool wagering on Saturday’s 12-race Breeders’ Cup card was $105,625,491 a slight decrease over the 2014 handle of $105,979,062. The on-track handle for the two days at Keeneland was $20,611,114, up slightly over the $20,117,488 2014 on-track handle at Santa Anita.
The two-day total attendance of 95,102 was a slight decrease over the prior year. Breeders’ Cup officials said that ticket revenue for the event more than doubled over 2014 due primarily to the demand for high-end hospitality areas at Keeneland, many created especially for the Breeders’ Cup.
“This was a day that people will look back on and tell people they were here and it’s exactly why the Breeders’ Cup was created, to showcase the very best of our sport,” said Breeders’ Cup President and CEO Craig Fravel. “We’re thrilled with the crowd over both days, the strong business levels and our gracious hosts here at Keeneland and the greater Lexington area.”
“The Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland has been a tremendous success in every way,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said, “from the brilliant performances of the Breeders’ Cup champions, both equine and human, to the huge crowds on track and the unprecedented way in which the Central Kentucky community embraced this great event. I couldn’t be prouder of the Keeneland team who executed operations at the highest levels to provide guests with an incredibly memorable two days of racing.”
Breeders’ Cup will release total handle, including separate pools, early next week.
Breeders’ Cup Two-Day Attendance and Handle (common-pool) history:
2015, Keeneland Race Course – 95,102; $150,574,656
2014, Santa Anita Park – 98,319; $151,794,174
2013, Santa Anita Park – 94,628; $160,704,877 (includes separate pools)
2012, Santa Anita Park – 89,742; $144,272,332
2011, Churchill Downs – 105,820; $161,512,867
2010, Churchill Downs – 114,353; $173,857,697
2009, Santa Anita Park – 96,496; $153,271,176
2008, Santa Anita Park – 86,588; $155,740,328
2007, Monmouth Park – 69,584; $129,197,262
About Breeders’ Cup
The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s year-end Championships. The Breeders’ Cup also administers the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The 2015 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 13 grade I races and purses totaling $26 million, will be held October 30-Oct. 31 at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., and will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup Web site, www.breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube #BC15