For the first time in its history the Breeders’ Cup World Championships will be held at Churchill Downs, Inc (“CDI”) in consecutive years as officials from Breeders’ Cup Ltd, Churchill Downs and Commonwealth of Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear made the announcement at a news conference this morning at the racetrack.
The 2011 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s most prestigious two-day event, annually attracts the best horses from North America and Europe. It is the richest prize money event in sports, with more than $26 million in purses offered over the two-day event, which will be held on Friday, Nov. 4 and Saturday, Nov. 5. 2011. The Breeders’ Cup will be televised on ABC/ESPN and to more than 130 countries around the world.
The 28th Breeders’ Cup will mark a record eighth time that the Championships will be held at Churchill Downs - the legendary home of the Kentucky Derby. This year’s Breeders’ Cup will be conducted on Nov. 5, 6. Previous editions of the Breeders’ Cup were held at Churchill Downs in 1988, 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000 and in 2006. The previous six runnings have had an average attendance of 73,556, with an all-time single day Breeders’ Cup crowd of 80,452 at the 1998 event. The 2006 event, which was attended by 76,132 fans, also produced all-time Breeders’ Cup records for single day on-track handle, $18,259,971, and the total worldwide single day wagering mark of $140,332,198.
“I am thrilled that Kentucky’s iconic Churchill Downs, home of the legendary Kentucky Derby, has been selected to host the 2011 Breeders’ Cup World Championships,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “The 28th Breeders Cup will mark a record eight times that Churchill has hosted the Breeders’ Cup and will be the first time it has hosted this prestigious race for two consecutive years. Jane and I congratulate Churchill Downs on this accomplishment and we look forward to joining the thousands of spectators who will attend these events.”
Governor Beshear was joined by Breeders’ Cup Chairman William S. Farish Jr. and Breeders’ Cup President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Avioli, Churchill Downs Incorporated President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Evans, Bill Carstanjen, Chief Operating Officer of Churchill Downs, Inc., and Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery.
“The prospect of consecutive years at Churchill Downs combined with Kentucky’s strong business climate and legislative incentives are sure to make the event a tremendous success for the Breeders’ Cup, greater Louisville and the state,” said Breeders’ Cup Chairman William S. Farish, Jr. “Churchill Downs continues to be one of the world’s greatest racing facilities, and is extremely popular with our horsemen and fans. We are enjoying an excellent relationship with Bob Evans and the Churchill management team. On behalf of our Board and Trustees and the racing and breeding industry which benefit the Breeders’ Cup, we appreciate Churchill’s continued enthusiasm and support in extending our relationship for the 2011 World Championships.”
“The return of the Breeders’ Cup for a second consecutive year in 2011 is good news for Kentucky and Churchill Downs as it underscores the importance of the event and our track to life and the economic vitality in our state and region,” said Evans. “Nearly a half-million fans from around the world have witnessed some of racing’s most dramatic moments during the record six previous visits by the Breeders’ Cup to our historic track. From its first stop in 1988, the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs has been one of our industry’s greatest celebrations and its return in 2011 provides another wonderful economic development opportunity for our city, state and region. We are pleased to welcome the two-day Breeders’ Cup championship in 2011 to complete its first back-to-back visits to Churchill Downs and our city.”
Over the past four years, the, Breeders’ Cup World Championships has experienced unprecedented growth, with total races expanding from eight to 14, and total purses increasing from $14 million to $26 million. This year’s Breeders’ Cup will be the first at Churchill under the two-day format. It will also be the first Breeders’ Cup in which both days of the Championships will finish under the lights.