Only at Keeneland: Racing and Sales Meet in November

Only at Keeneland: Racing and Sales Meet in November

No place on earth can showcase the excitement of Thoroughbred racing and sales like Keeneland can.

A leader in the industry and a beloved member of the Central Kentucky community, Keeneland is unique as a race track – with some of the richest purses in North America – and an auction house – the world’s largest. This November, the entire global Thoroughbred industry will focus on Keeneland for the 39th Breeders’ Cup World Championships followed by the 79th Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, and many horsemen and women from across the U.S. and around the world will travel here to participate in the two events.

This marks the third time Keeneland has hosted the Breeders’ Cup, 14 championship races worth more than $31 million on Friday, Nov. 4 and Saturday, Nov. 5. Just two days later, the buzz of that prestigious event will travel a few feet from the track to the Sales Pavilion for opening day of the November Sale, the world’s largest auction of breeding stock, weanlings and top-class racehorses.

You can already feel the excitement.

Breeders' Cup Gate TURF

Synergy Between Sales and Racing

Keeneland’s mission, created in the 1930s, is to invest in and perpetuate the sport of Thoroughbred racing, and this purpose remains our focus. People who participate in our sales and racing contribute to Keeneland’s ability to reinvest directly in the health and future of the Thoroughbred industry, from generating lucrative purses for the two race meets to enabling Keeneland to host the Breeders’ Cup.

The relationship between sales and racing is significant. In 2021, Keeneland sales contributed more than $2.8 million to purses for race meets – well above what is required per agreements with horsemen.

Keeneland also funds research and health and safety initiatives for horses and riders; supports Thoroughbred aftercare; and contributes to local charitable and civic organizations through a blend of financial and in-kind sponsorships.

Thanks to the people who support our sales and racing, Keeneland is able to have an impact and showcase the best in the Thoroughbred industry.

Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland

The best racehorses anywhere will be here for the Breeders’ Cup, which Keeneland is preparing to host for the third time.

The first event in 2015 was widely expected to be memorable, and it exceeded every expectation. A combined 95,000 fans at Keeneland on both days saw many impressive performances, highlighted by the dominating victory of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in track-record time.

Breeders' Cup Gate DIRT

It was spectacular. In fact, I couldn’t be more impressed with how Keeneland, the Breeders’ Cup & Lexington handled the event. From the moment I got off the airplane, it was like stepping into a world wrapped in Breeders' Cup purple.
Barry Weisbord on Keeneland’s first Breeders’ Cup
This was a day that people will look back on and tell people they were here, and it’s exactly why the Breeders’ Cup was created to showcase the very best of our sport.
Craig Fravel, former Breeders’ Cup President and CEO

An Unusual Return

The Breeders’ Cup returned to Keeneland in 2020, but the worldwide pandemic created unusual circumstances. Before the event, which featured Kentucky Derby winner Authentic taking the Classic, Breeders’ Cup announced it would be back at Keeneland in 2022:

“As the 2020 World Championships were held without fans on site due to COVID-19, Breeders’ Cup is delighted to be coming back to Lexington after two short years to give the local community and loyal fans the opportunity to experience the World Championships at its full potential.”

Breeders’ Cup President and CEO Drew Fleming echoed the announcement.

Keeneland Racing Fall
We know fans are eager to celebrate racing and watch the best horses in the world compete at Keeneland, and we are working with our partners at both the race track and in the Lexington community to ensure that this year’s running is the best one yet.
Drew Fleming, Breeders’ Cup President and CEO
We look forward to welcoming fans and racing participants from around the world to Lexington to celebrate the Breeders’ Cup in a way this event richly deserves.
Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin

Keeneland and Community

The Breeders’ Cup is a big deal no matter where it is held, but the event reaches a new level when Lexington and Keeneland collaborate.

In addition to offering the Breeders’ Cup Festival with exciting events throughout the area, this year’s celebration includes a public art project called Horse Mania. Keeneland and Maker’s Mark bourbon distillery are sponsoring Horse Mania, which features some 160 fiberglass horse sculptures that were painted by local artists and schoolchildren and are displayed throughout the city. Many sculptures will be auctioned at Keeneland later this year as a fundraiser for LexArts.

Horse Mania

Keeneland couldn’t be more excited to hold this year’s Breeders’ Cup days before our November Sale and work with the city of Lexington to create such a joyous atmosphere. This is an opportunity to bridge racing and sales in a way that only Keeneland can.