LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) – The Breeders’ Cup in November will be held without spectators, joining the Triple Crown races in having only essential personnel and participants on hand because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The world championships are set for Nov. 6-7 at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky.
The decision was made after consultation with Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, Keeneland, local and state government and public health officials. Before the pandemic, attendance had been capped at 45,000.
Breeders’ Cup officials say Keeneland has been awarded the 2022 championships. Next year’s event is at Del Mar in California.
“While we are disappointed that we will not be joined by our fans on-site this year, our utmost priority is and always will be to conduct the Breeders’ Cup World Championships in the safest way possible,” said Fred Hertrich, Breeders’ Cup Board Chairman.
“We would like to thank Governor Beshear, state and local health officials and public health authorities for their leadership, guidance and insight as we have worked to identify our options and finalize our plans. Lexington’s local community of racing fans, businesses and members of the Thoroughbred industry are the backbone of our sport, and we believe they deserve a second opportunity, in short order, to experience the event at its full potential. As such, we are proud to award Keeneland the 2022 World Championships and look forward to bringing the Breeders’ Cup back to Lexington in just two years’ time.”
“The decision to hold this year’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships without fans in attendance was not made lightly,” said Drew Fleming, President and CEO of Breeders’ Cup. “However, after many months of careful deliberation, planning and consultation, it has become abundantly clear that this is the right decision in order to proceed with our event while still protecting the collective health of our community. Despite many major racing events reducing purses significantly, we are proud to be able to maintain 2019 purse levels to support our nominators and horsemen during this challenging year.”
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