Louisville Magazine

Breeders Cup 2018

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#BC18 BREEDERSCUP.COM 13 and You're In" Challenge Series would grow to encompass 85 qualifying events in 12 countries. But it has. When automatic berths are offered in corre- sponding races and expenses are paid, that makes for one attractive series. "It really captures people's imagina- tions. 'I win this race, I get to go for free,'" Delgaldo says. "It's been one of our real success stories." So, too, is the work being done to ensure a global event. ere were a record 38 international starters last year at Del Mar. e inaugural running of the $1 million Juvenile Turf Sprint, not to mention the lure of historic Chur- chill Downs, all but guarantees a new mark this year. e Juvenile Turf Sprint is one of five races for two-year-olds in what is being billed for the first time as Future Stars Friday. e remaining nine Cup races make for an action-packed Saturday. ose who attend will find the overall experience to be nothing like what it was three decades ago. "Everybody came and everybody sort of left," says Peter Rotondo, vice presi- dent of the Breeders' Cup. "ere wasn't much that surrounded the event such as lifestyle or fashion or big parties." Now, an array of week-long events, some free and others at various price points, ensure a Super Bowl-like buzz. e week breaks from the gate on Monday with the two-day Equestricon, introduced last year as a convention, fan experience and trade show rolled into one. Equestricon also will host Mon- day's Rood & Riddle Breeders' Cup Post Position Draw. e Breeders' Cup is expected to im- pact the local economy to the tune of $95 million. Part of that will stem from the Louisville Breeders' Cup Festival. e festival concept was introduced four years ago and will be highlighted by live concerts at Fourth Street Live on ursday, Friday and Saturday nights. A full schedule can be obtained at www.breederscupfestival.com. Foodies seeking the ultimate dining experience may be drawn on ursday night to Taste of the World, which began in 2011. Even breakfast will be a big deal. Owners and horsemen will start the day in style at the Breakfast Marquee, with breakfast served in a trackside chalet. ere can be no finer way to watch horses train. Once competition begins, winners are treated to a champagne toast and a party that starts soon after their horse flashes across the finish line at what Rotondo describes as the "Happiest Place on Earth." For the Breeders' Cup to thrive, for the sport to thrive, even world-class racing alone is not enough. "We have to be everything to ev- eryone," Rotondo says, "because we're serving so many different audiences." Churchill Downs recognized the same challenge and invested a stagger- ing sum to meet the need. Since the Cup made consecutive visits in 2010 and 2011, the track has spent more than $150 million on new construction and renovations. "e twin spires are still the iconic feature that everyone looks to as the landmark in racing," says track pres- ident Kevin Flanery, "but we've been able to enhance the experience with the times." In the last six years, Churchill Downs has turned major improvements into an annual event. 2013: Creation of the Mansion at Churchill Downs, the Parlay/Media The field rounds the first turn at Churchill Downs in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

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