LEXINGTON. Ky. — Befitting a city that is the “Horse Capital of the World,” the 2020 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Keeneland will be a unique and exciting experience that pays homage to the Lexington community. The CHI Saint Joseph Health Breeders’ Cup Festival has developed safe and diverse ways to highlight the city’s creative and culinary culture during the November 1-7 Breeders’ Cup World Championships Week.
“The city of Lexington set the hospitality bar high when we hosted the Breeders’ Cup in 2015,” said Mayor Linda Gorton. “This year we will continue to bring out the best in our City, as we welcome our guests and showcase our international leadership of the Thoroughbred industry.”
All festival activities will follow health and safety protocols as mandated by the CDC and the Governor’s office to mitigate the risks associated with COVID-19.
“Despite the challenges we have faced, we are still hosting a world-class event with our limited guests, as well as locals, and they will still have ample opportunity to enjoy this international event safely,” said Kip Cornett, festival chair. “Thanks to the city of Lexington, along with our arts and restaurant communities, there will be a number of activities that allow everyone to responsibly participate and appreciate what the Thoroughbred industry means to Lexington.”
Starting on Wednesday, Oct. 28, an impressive collection of 32 dining establishments will participate in an “International Feeders’ Cup,” where local chefs will create dishes of the 16 countries who have participated in the Breeders’ Cup. From Australia to Ireland, from Peru to Japan, these restaurants’ salute to international cuisine can be found at FeedersCup.com.
World Championship week will then kick off with a “bang” with a downtown fireworks show at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 1st. A musically-synched fireworks display will follow the same location and safety protocols from the July 4th show. Citizens who can’t see the fireworks from their homes are encouraged to drive to an appropriate parking spot and celebrate from their cars. Viewing available from Rupp Arena’s High Street parking lot. There is no charge for parking.
Starting Wednesday, the center of the city will feature roving musicians who will perform in numerous public spaces downtown. They will be joined by local artists who will be capturing the Breeders’ Cup experience in live, Plein air painting in various spaces throughout the hospitality corridor. Three life-size horse statues painted and decorated as part of the Painted Horse Trilogy will be on display in Robert F. Stephens Courthouse Plaza.
“There will not be a single performance area and we will be very careful to adhere to social distancing rules, but this gives our artistic community a chance to shine and be a part of the experience in 2020,” Cornett said.
A number of events planned by the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Festival Committee will occur when the Breeders’ Cup World Championships return to Lexington in 2022.
“During this unprecedented Breeders’ Cup week, we are finding new and creative ways to honor our World Championships’ participants,” said Drew Fleming, Breeders’ Cup president and CEO. “Lexington’s local community of racing fans, businesses and members of the Thoroughbred industry are the backbone of the sport and deserve a second opportunity, in short order, to experience the World Championships and the Breeders’ Cup Festival at their full potential and we are more than excited to return again in 2022.”
“Keeneland is honored to once again welcome the Breeders’ Cup home to Central Kentucky, and to share two days of championship racing with our fans, albeit remotely, around the world,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “We sincerely thank our corporate and industry partners for their support of this year’s Breeders’ Cup Festival. Though limited in scope, it still provides a wonderful opportunity to showcase the best of Lexington and engage the community. We are eager to celebrate the pageantry and excitement on Nov. 6-7 and look forward to its return in 2022.”
The Breeders’ Cup will also have numerous opportunities to take in all the excitement around the racing action. Starting with the draw for post positions and continuing through two days of amazing competition on Friday and Saturday, fans are encouraged to visit BreedersCup.com to learn how to watch, wager, and enjoy all the excitement from their homes. From live stream events to the NBC coverage, the Breeders’ Cup can be enjoyed and experienced throughout the whole week. Racing coverage will begin on NBCSN on Friday, Nov. 6 at 2 p.m. On Saturday, Nov. 7, coverage begins at noon on NBCSN before switching over to NBC at 2:30 p.m.