Variety is the spice of life. If that is indeed the case, sporting fans are going to get a little Mrs. Dash in the coming years courtesy of the Breeders’ Cup.
Since 2008, a pair of the larger players in the Thoroughbred racing game have enjoyed a strangle hold on the world championships fondly known as the Breeders’ Cup. Upon its inception, a rotating format was designed to allow fans across the country easier access to the greatest event the sport has ever known. Different tracks would host and that would provide a “home turf” advantage for horses and fans. However, for whatever reason$, either Churchill Downs (2010, 2011) or Santa Anita (2008, 2009, 2012,2013, 2014) has had a monopoly on the event. Make no mistake, these two venues are some of the finest and most storied tracks ponies have ever pranced upon. They have both done a fine job of hosting and everybody knows money wins every race, but the initial idea was to spread the wealth. So when the Cup peeps made an announcement about future sights for this superbly scintillating spectacle, it was rather refreshing.
The 32nd running of the Thoroughbred world championships will be staged at Keeneland race course in Lexington, Kentucky with the 33rd Cup back at Santa Anita in 2016 and the 2017 event will be held at historic Del Mar just north of San Diego. Like a winning pick three ticket, the news has allowed for a few chest bumps and a little bit of chicken skin.
“We think the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar is a win-win for all parties concerned”, says Del Mar director of media Mac McBride. “San Diego is a great sports town and people here will really get next to something like this and I think the same will be true at Keeneland.”
The choices of Keeneland and Del Mar are in fact excellent selections. Neither possess the vastness of a horse racing mecca like Churchill, but each is very steeped in Thoroughbred racing history. Keeneland opened back in 1936 and is nestled in the heart of horse country. Del Mar was founded by Bing Crosby back in 1937 and has long been one of the greatest venues the sport of kings has known. With the Pacific Ocean waves crashing just across the street, the seaside oval that has the catch phrase “cool as ever” is indeed just that.
“We feel like Del Mar is an iconic place and very special,” says McBride. “It has long been a bucket list place for sports fans and the Breeders’ Cup gives them an excellent excuse to visit. When you add everything up as far as our track, what the area offers, the weather, and the excitement of the Breeders’ Cup, we think it is a real slam dunk.”
Sports fans across the country will benefit from the rotation over the next three years. Not only will it give some easier access to the greatness, but also add to the already superb competition. Changing scenery and different tracks will add even more spice to what is a very tasty dish to begin with. Different dynamics makes for even more uncertainty which translates into excitement. Track and facility improvements inspired by the Breeders’ Cup will also allow both Keeneland and Del Mar to reap benefits throughout their racing seasons for many years to come and perhaps gain them even more glory as the Cup and the sport move into the future .

The view from the Del Mar grandstand is a breathtaking reason for a Breeders' Cup visit

The view from the Del Mar grandstand is a breathtaking reason for a Breeders’ Cup visit