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Lexington Hosting Safe, Socially Distanced 2020 Breeders' Cup Festival


No.  It won't be like 2015 (after all how could it be in the age of COVID-19?) but Lexington is rolling out the virtual red carpet for horse fans across the world for the 2020 Breeders' Cup Festival. WUKY's Alan Lytle talks with festival chair Kip Cornett about what will be different and what will be improved upon this time around.

From the City of Lexington:

Befitting a city that is the “Horse Capital of the World”, the 2020 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Keenelandwill be a unique and exciting experience that pays homage to the Lexington community. The CHI Saint Joseph Health Breeders’ Cup Festival has developed safe and diverse ways to highlight the city’s creative and culinary culture during the November 1-7 Breeders’ Cup World Championships Week. 

“The city of Lexington set the hospitality bar high when we hosted the Breeders’ Cup in 2015,” Mayor Linda Gorton said. “This year we will continue to bring out the best in our City, as we welcome our guests and showcase our international leadership of the Thoroughbred industry.”

All festival activities will follow health and safety protocols as mandated by the CDC and the Governor’s office to mitigate the risks associated with COVID-19.

“Despite the challenges we have faced, we are still hosting a world-class event with our limited guests, as well as locals, and they will still have ample opportunity to enjoy this international event safely,” said festival chair Kip Cornett. “Thanks to the city of Lexington, along with our arts and restaurant communities, there will be a number of activities that allow everyone to responsibly participate and appreciate what the Thoroughbred industry means to Lexington.”

Starting on Wednesday, October 28, an impressive collection of 32 dining establishments will participate in an “International Feeders’ Cup”,where local chefs will create dishes of the 16 countries who have participated in the Breeders’ Cup. From Australia to Ireland, from Peru to Japan, these restaurants’ salute to international cuisine can be found at FeedersCup.com.

“There will not be a single performance area and we will be very careful to adhere to social distancing rules, but this gives our artistic community a chance to shine and be a part of the experience in 2020,” stated Cornett.

A number of events planned by the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Festival Committee will occur when the Breeders’ Cup World Championships returns to Lexington in 2022.

“During this unprecedented Breeders’ Cup week, we are finding new and creative ways to honor our World Championships’ participants,” said Breeders’ Cup President and CEO Drew Fleming. “Lexington’s local community of racing fans, businesses and members of the Thoroughbred industry are the backbone of the sport and deserve a second opportunity, in short order, to experience the World Championships and the Breeders’ Cup Festival at their full potential and we are more than excited to return again in 2022.”

“Keeneland is honored to once again welcome the Breeders’ Cup home to Central Kentucky, and to share two days of championship racing with our fans, albeit remotely, around the world,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “We sincerely thank our corporate and industry partners for their support of this year’s Breeders’ Cup Festival. Though limited in scope, it still provides a wonderful opportunity to showcase the best of Lexington and engage the community. We are eager to celebrate the pageantry and excitement on Nov. 6-7, and look forward to its return in 2022.

The Breeders’ Cup will also have numerous opportunities to take in all the excitement around the racing action. Starting with the draw for post positions and continuing through two days of amazing competition on Friday and Saturday, fans are encouraged to visit BreedersCup.com to learn how to watch, wager and enjoy all the excitement from their homes. From livestream events to the NBC coverage, the Breeders’ Cup can be enjoyed and experienced throughout the whole week. Racing coverage will begin on NBCSN on Friday, November 6th, at 2:00pm ET. On Saturday, November 7th, coverage begins at noon ET on NBCSN before switching over to NBC at 2:30pm ET.

“We can’t thank CHI Saint Joseph Health, as well as The Jockey Club, enough for making a modified version of the Breeders’ Cup Festival happen this year,” closed Cornett. “With their help, we have found new and creative ways to enjoy our local culture and highlight the importance of the Thoroughbred industry.”

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