Breeders’ Cup – What are your Feelings ?

Photo: John C. Englehardt


Have you ever waited for that “Red Rider BB Gun” only to open your large over-sized package to find you have a belt stamping kit and a glass bottle art assembly ? – I know, we all have and there is nothing like holding that fake smile. – For over a month I’ve been hearing opinions from horse players about the Breeders’ Cup. Not the format or the general event, but where it will be held this year. – If you’ve been lost at sea and missed out on the news. Keeneland Race Course is opening it’s doors to accommodate the behemoth monster racing event the world awaits, and dropped it smack dab on the pristine land of Lexington, Kentucky.  – Keeneland holds racing the two best months of the year, and the waiting line for tables and seating is larger than buying Rolling Stones tickets. There is a special magic for the “Brigadoon” of Thoroughbred racing, players from all levels have an opinion. – I guess it would be easy to send out a general idea of made up stats or a throw it against the wall opinion. But here is a real view from players.


1. – ” I love the idea that the Breeders’ Cup is going to be so close to home. Going to the races in Lexington is a throw-back to the old days when folks would get dressed up and it was a day to remember. The tickets were a bit tricky, but the overall event should be historical.”


2. – ” Going to Keeneland made me smile as a young college man, and it was a place that brings back memories. Hard to imagine staying home this year. Tickets have been commandeered by Jesse James, and the prices cost an arm and a leg. – When the event was at Churchill, we knew the track could hold the biggest of the big events. I just had trouble wrapping my head around the idea of the temporary seating, chalets, and how big of a deal will parking be just to get in.”


3. – “Lexington is a small cozy town. I love the trek and the back road drive is something poems are written about. But there is so much going on in a small radius. – The Kentucky Horse Park will feature the CP National Horse Show. The event will feature a full array of hunter divisions, Junior & Amateur Owner Jumpers, the top Open Jumpers from the USA and around the world, and the Maclay National Championship. The CP National Horse Show is consistently ranked as one of the top shows in the United States by the North American Riders Group (NARG) and last year was voted Horse Show of the Year by the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame. – The SEC football battle ensues with Tennessee visiting the University of Kentucky just three miles down the road. If they could have a Monster Truck Rally and a Gun and Knife show the entire town would become a nightmare. – I’m staying home to play, and the local track will get my business. I sure will miss this one-of-a-kind opportunity, but it will be too crazy.”


4. – ” I’ve loved horse racing more than donuts, chicken wings, and ice cold beer. – I tried to buy tickets, and I couldn’t fit my first born into the ticket box office window. – I’ve been watching on-line about the construction, and I have mixed feelings. Some places were meant to be left alone, and this may have been one of the last places with Saratoga as a place fans don’t want disturbed.”


5. – “The Super Bowl (or the BIG game) is a high ticket item. There are few events worth the price. We have a mid-sized RV, and our neighbors have one as well. We started going before the kids were born and now we make road trips together as friends who share the love of racing and Keeneland. Once we heard the tickets went on sale we nailed down two spots very close to the track and we’re going to set-up shop together cooking incredible meals, drinking wine in the crisp cool autumn air, and nights will be spent talking about the races and who we’re going to play. – We wouldn’t miss this for the world, and we’ll be the ones having a great time. Be sure and stop by, we’ll be the ones with the ever-stoked grill sharing with friends who want to have a quick bite and talk about the beauty.”


I have to report it is a 50/50 breakdown. – I started off with a go-go-go estimation, and now it has turned to a clean yes / no answer. The fans who really love the game, and can be seen year-after-year with Racing Form in hand may be excluded as the ticket prices will keep them away. The upper-crust fans who love events packed with RV’s and the party scene should have no problem paying the freight as they know that there will be more fans in their demo. – The hills that have served as an over-flow for college kids watching the races on big screens and food trucks will find themselves at home as it’s all about the party. – I think it will be a success, but it will alienate the regular fans who have been coming for years only to be displaced. For me, the Breeders’ Cup has been an event for gamblers. The Triple Crown is all about the one day fans, and they love the routine. But the B.C. has been our day to watch and wager on the best horses from around the world. – They will love the turf course as it is one of the best in the world, and the change over to dirt was a telegram from the future the majority of runners love the natural footing, and the synthetic experiment is dead and gone. – I’ll be playing from a track, or on my betting account. I would have loved to have made the trek, and only 75 miles away will be the closest the event will ever come for this punter. – For once, I’ll get to see and hear the excellent TV coverage instead of DVR’ing and watching after the fact. – I know in my heart that Keeneland will put on a first class show. That’s what they do, and the Breeders’ Cup will have downward on-track handle and a big boost from all sources (OTB’s, Tracks, and ADW’s). – I’ll have a friend bring me back a hat, and be sure to take plenty of pictures. I”ll be right here where most of the everyday fans will congregate.