Breeders’ Cup is coming to Del Mar in 2017

Horses warm up in the paddock before a 2007 race at Del Mar.
(Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)

The Breeders’ Cup World Championships will come to Del Mar for the first time in 2017 and will also return to Santa Anita in 2016, according to racing industry officials.

An official announcement on a three-year hosting plan for the Breeders’ Cup is scheduled for Tuesday morning at Santa Anita, the site for this year’s event Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.

Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., will be hosting racing’s world championship for the first time in 2015. The Louisville Courier-Journal first reported the three-year plan earlier this week.

Del Mar had hoped to host the event in 2016, but electing to go with first-year venues back-to-back might have been too much to ask for the Breeders’ Cup board of directors.


Del Mar is undergoing major surface changes over the next 12 months. It just put in a new turf course for its summer meeting and plans to replace its synthetic Polytrack with a dirt surface for the 2015 summer meeting.

“We’re glad to get it any year,” Del Mar President Joe Harper said of the Breeders’ Cup. “If it’s 2015, ’16, ’17, ’18, we’re delighted.”

Keeneland is also replacing its Polytrack with dirt in time for its October meeting.

Keeneland and Del Mar are considered two of the most picturesque race tracks in America. Del Mar, next to the Pacific Ocean, has enjoyed rising attendance for its summer meetings and has been attracting younger crowds, a demographic much in demand in the racing industry.


Santa Anita continues to be the standard in hosting the Breeders’ Cup, combining its experience, good weather, safe track and welcoming environment for fans and racing industry participants. The track will be hosting the event for a record ninth time in 2016.

Holding the event on the West Coast at Santa Anita and Del Mar helps the Breeders’ Cup Classic to be shown on television in prime time on the East Coast.