Breeders’ Cup To Return To Churchill Downs In 2018

by | 04.25.2016 | 8:13am
Breeders' Cup President Craig Fravel, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Bill Farish, and Kevin Flanery announce the 2018 BC location

The Breeders' Cup, one of Thoroughbred horse racing's most prestigious international events, has today announced that it will return to Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky in 2018. As part of the company's ongoing strategy to maintain a three-year out host site plan, Breeders' Cup will work closely with Churchill Downs and the local Louisville community to drive excitement and anticipation for the event over the next few years.

One of the world's most iconic and recognized tracks, Churchill Downs last hosted the Breeders' Cup World Championships in 2011. The return to Louisville reflects the Breeders' Cup commitment to bring the event to the country's best racetracks and to combine the sport's best racing with best-in-class dining, hospitality and entertainment.

“We are thrilled to announce our return to Louisville,” said Breeders' Cup President and CEO, Craig Fravel. “Churchill Downs' ongoing, significant investment in their facility to enhance the experience for participants and fans aligns perfectly with our desire to conduct one of the best racing events in the world, and we're looking forward to another landmark event in 2018.”

The 35th Breeders' Cup World Championships will be held on Friday, November 2 and Saturday, November 3, 2018 and televised live by NBC Sports Group.

Since 2011, Churchill Downs has invested more than $67 million in the facility to further elevate the experience for all fans and participants, while also introducing new, in-demand luxury seating and entertainment options. The improvements include Clubhouse enhancements, Winner's Circle Suites, Grandstand Terrace & Rooftop Garden, The Mansion and the installation of the world's largest 4,000 Ultra High Definition Big Board.

“We are excited that the Breeders' Cup World Championships will be returning in 2018 to Churchill Downs Racetrack, the city of Louisville and Kentucky,” said Bill Carstanjen, Chief Executive Officer, Churchill Downs Incorporated. “Fan support for the Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs has been spectacular in the eight previous visits and our track has been the scene of many of the most important performances in the event's history. I'm confident the return of the Breeders' Cup World Championships to Churchill Downs will be an unforgettable event.”

The 2018 Breeders' Cup World Championships will be the ninth time that the event will be hosted at Churchill Downs which, at that time, will be tied with Santa Anita Park in California for the most ever held at one venue. In years past, largely in part to the incredible support of the Louisville community and Kentucky residents, Churchill Downs has hosted the largest Breeders' Cup's crowds, including a record-breaking two-day attendance figure of 114,353 in 2010, which also set a two-day on-track handle record of $22,515,318 and a total two-day handle record of $173,857,697. In 2018 these numbers have the potential to reach all-time highs as interest in the Breeders' Cup continues to grow.

  • gibbs28

    So much for the rotating it around different tracks all over the country.

    • Shyanne Rasmussen

      Well they were in Keenland last year….and Santa Anita the year before… they are moving around! There aren’t that many tracks that can host the event (apparently)

      I personally would LOVE for Arlington to put down a bid and host the BC in the future. I would drop everything to go down there for a weekend!

  • Jbyrnes1


    • Nancy

      For whatever reason I think I will be dead before it returns to Belmont.

      • Brian Duntugan

        IMO, Belmont will actually be the one around 4 another chance @ the Breeders’ Cup. Aqueduct will be dead once NYRA finalizes its governing structure.

    • Brian Duntugan

      I look 4ward 2 seeing it return 2 Belmont within 5 or 7 years.

      • Jbyrnes1

        Hope so

    • Lost In The Fog – Robert Lee

      The BC will not return to Belmont unless or until NYRA decides to make a serious competitive bid for the event. They have failed to do so for the last several years and as a result they have not been in the running to host the BC. It’s as simple as that.

      • Neal Baker

        That’s bulldip and you know it. What do you want NYRA to do bow down and kiss the feet of the BC ? When the BC was first implemented they said at the outset that it would rotate among several areas of the country. They haven’t lived up to their end of the bargain. It’s nothing about bids. What these tracks do is put out a proposed program as to how the weekend of events will unfold. The money issue has always been a negotiation tactic that always gets settled when the rubber meets the road. The NY market got stiffed again plain and simple.

        • Lost In The Fog – Robert Lee

          You expect the BC to award the event to Belmont without the NYRA even making a bid to host the event? That’s silly. SA, Del Mar, Keeneland and CD have all stepped up to the plate (along with a few others) and participated in the bidding process, while NYRA has not. Again, it’s that simple. Neither NY or any other venue is so special as to be awarded the event without even making a token effort to compete.

          • Neal Baker

            They haven’t placed a bid because the deck is stacked against them and they know it. They’d been down this road before and they know the outcome. What happened to their bids in previous years only to get passed over time and time again by SantaAnita ?

          • Lost In The Fog – Robert Lee

            The last two (possibly three) times SA was awarded the BC the NYRA hadn’t even submitted a bid. The reality is that NYRA either isn’t interested in hosting the BC (perhaps for legitimate financial reasons) or they believe they should be awarded the BC without having to compete with the other venues. Saying “the deck is stacked against them” is just an excuse for inaction or an overblown sense of entitlement. IMO if NYRA submits a competitive bid the BC will happily include them in the rotation sooner rather than later and I’d be in full support of that. But the bottom line is NYRA needs to “put up or shut up.”

  • A penny for your thoughts

    Agreed gibbs28

    I know I don’t play the BC races anymore. The attraction was different venues, but that clearly doesn’t matter anymore. But, the BC is also guilty of keeping most profits on those days where the track owners aren’t making nearly as much. I guess something is better than nothing? Who knows. It’s about who can make the better buck and sadly medium sized tracks won’t cut it anymore in the eyes of the Breeders Cup.

  • Thinker

    It has a great deal to do with the local, facility and the weather. Not to ignore the $.

    • Kathy Agel

      Long Island can have great weather in the fall, and Kentucky can have storms.

      • wELLO

        Um, usually if the weather is bad in Louisville, it’s also bad in NYC.
        Just saying . . .

        • Kathy Agel

          They’re not exactly around the corner from each other.

          • wELLO

            Just an esoteric point . . . if it’s cold and rainy on the first of November in Louisville, chances are that it’s also cold and rainy in New York. Gulfstream has NO CHANCE of holding the BC bc of it’s puny grandstand, which is too bad bc GS has a very nice track and turf course. However, they could lease out Hialeah and hold it there. Despite all you haters, Santa Anita is a supreme facility, much renovations have taken place and it has beautiful weather.

          • Shyanne Rasmussen

            I always heard the Gulfstreams main track was hard as a rock? I don’t know personally of course thats just what hear from a lot of people, who don’t like the track.

  • Mike Oliveto

    And I’m sure next year there will be a huge media event announcing the 2019 host site…drumroll please…Santa Anita. Yawn…

    • Shyanne Rasmussen

      At least we’re getting places more than just Santa Anita. . .

  • John G. Veitch Saratoga Spring

    Great for Churchill, but how long has it been since NYRA, or Gulfstream has had this??

    • Elle D

      Gulfstream used to be my home track. When it was rebuilt, the death knell for BC was sounded. It is unlikely they care, since they are always in the mix with Santa Anita.

  • MA

    Brace yourselves. Here come all the people complaining they never give it to Belmont anymore, not knowing NYRA doesn’t want it, probably ’cause it’s a giant leech.

  • Iceman

    Why would they award a track under the CDI corporate umbrella which has done so much to ruin racing a Breeders Cup. This is just another example of corruption, shame on Breeders Cup. What was in the beginning a travelling year end championship moving from track to track has become what the new governors of the Breeders Cup wanted to end up with just a few tracks that rotate it year to year.

    • Elle D

      As an FYI, I’ve done two walk-throughs at CD in the last two weeks. Construction is moving at a furious pace to complete upgrades in the upper levels of the track. Millions spent creating a glitzy environment, with many changes to rooms and names of, and the addition of spaces for more patrons. Of course, the lower levels have, once again, been ignored.

      • Shyanne Rasmussen

        I would like to say they’ll get to the lower levels eventually, but I i’m an optimist. Lets just hope they plug in a few more bathrooms for everyone! That is a complaint I hear just about every single year!

      • Ky Race Fan

        Lower levels are a disgrace to the general public. The food court is also a good example of CDIs promise to make the experience better for the public,alot of broken promises!!!!!

        • Elle D

          Yes. A blatant disregard for “public” areas. Frankly, I’ve never eaten a bite at CD (except for in the Turf Club where the food is very good) as I’ve always been suspect of it.

  • we’re watching

    And after that running at CD, Belmont and then Woodbine, and then Monmouth, and then Arlington, and then Lone Star and then Aqueduct, and then Laurel and then maybe Southern California.

    • Elle D

      BC will not return to Monmouth. The vote was a unanimous 12-0.

  • Michael Castellano

    NYRA is unable and/or unwilling to invest in the event or to upgrade their facilities, in this case Belmont Park. They are controlled by pencil pushing politicians, not true racing people. Why should they invest and spend money on an event that does not bring in sufficient income to justify the expenses? They do not care or realize that New York racing and the prestige of their graded races has declined dramatically as compared to other venues. If the bid process is unfair to NYRA, why have they not made it a public issue and complained to high heaven? I can only conclude that they do not want the event. Nor is there any long term commitment to rebuilding racing in NY

    • Elle D

      You are correct. Among other things, Belmont refuses to make necessary upgrades to the track.

  • Alan Boyd

    I think Churchill Downs and now Keeneland will remain regulars in the BC rotation and rightly so.

    • Elle D

      I had drinks with an exec a few weeks ago, and he gave me the scoop about CD, as well as future sites. Let me just say, BC is extremely enamored with Keeneland after their success at hosting BC last year, and it will be in the rotation.

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