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2020 Breeders’ Cup Returns to Keeneland

Photo by Trevor Booker.

Breeders’ Cup Returns to Keeneland in 2020

The Breeders’ Cup provides the answer to the age old question of who’s the best, and it returns to Lexington in 2020.

Keeneland last hosted the World Championship in horse racing in 2015.

Workers in Breeders' Cup jackets
Photo by Megan McCardwell.

World history was made that weekend when Triple Crown winner American Pharoah broke the track record at Keeneland by more than five seconds in his win at the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Triple Crown winner Justify would have had a shot at that same title in 2018 when the Breeders’ Cup returned to Louisville’s Churchill Downs, but his owners made the decision to retire him.

WinStar Farm President Elliott Walden announced, “We all wanted him to finish his career in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but it was not meant to be.”

Triple Crown Winner American Pharoah now resides at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud.
Triple Crown Winner American Pharoah now resides at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud. Photo by Megan McCardwell.

The history of the Breeders’ Cup began in central Kentucky in 1982. A group of prominent thoroughbred breeders led by the visionary John Gaines, wanted to create a year-end, culminating championship. Their vision was to create an event that celebrated the best of horse racing.

The 2020 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 championship races with purses and awards totaling more than $30 million, will be held on November 6-7 at Keeneland.

Breeders’ Cup and Keeneland will invest over $10.5 million in the coming months to expand luxury seating areas and hospitality offerings.



American Pharoah 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland.
American Pharoah at 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland. Photo by Trevor Booker.


  • The 2015 Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland generated a $65 million economic impact on Lexington.
  • Lexington’s hotel occupancy was 95 percent during Breeders’ Cup Weekend and 75 percent during Breeders’ Cup Week.
  • 450 private jets arrived at Blue Grass Airport during Breeders’ Cup Weekend.
  • 4.6 million viewers watched the NBC telecast of the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland.



This article appears on page 59 of the 2020 annual print edition of Beaumont Guide.

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