LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It brings the world's best horses and millions of dollars to the economy. The Breeders' Cup is coming back to the Bluegrass, but eight-time host Churchill Downs is not the Kentucky track getting the event.
The selection for 2015, according to a report by the Louisville Courier Journal, is Keeneland Race Course in Lexington. As of Tuesday, Keeneland and Breeders' Cup officials couldn't confirm the report to WAVE 3 News.
The last time Churchill Downs hosted the two day event, an economic impact study found it brought more than $50 million to the area. That's a big loss for Louisville, but overall trainers, owners and even Churchill Downs officials said they are glad it's making its way back to Kentucky.
Lexington hotels and restaurants are already celebrating a Breeders' Cup financial bonanza after hearing that the two richest days in racing are headed their way in 2015.
"We would love to have it here and we believe it will be here again," Churchill Vice President John Asher said of the event. "We've hosted it eight times and we think this community has shown, not just this community, this region and our track team have shown that this is a place that handles big events well."
There's no question, big crowds are no problem for Churchill Downs as the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks see well over 100,000 people each of those race days. A big Breeders' Cup crowd is about 50,000. Keeneland's largest day is just over 40,000 race fans although adding temporary seating shouldn't be a problem for the track.
In the past, officials with both the Breeders' Cup and Churchill Downs have said they wanted a better financial deal out of the event, but Asher said he's not aware of that.
Louisville trainer Dale Romans, who has a farm in Lexington, is pumped to have the visitors and the spotlight back in horse country. He said of the Breeders' Cup, "I've been to several of them almost every place in the country and I think Kentucky supports it more than anywhere I've ever been."
"Places like California and New York, there's too much going on, but here it really means something," Romans said.
Louisville Trainer Dallas Stewart and Ride on Curlin owner Lori Dougherty said they are also thrilled for Keeneland and both believe Louisville hotels will get plenty of spill over.
In the end, the Breeders' Cup was a dream of legendary central Kentucky breeder John Gaines to showcase the world's best horses at tracks around the country with the hope to also bring it back home.
Asher said, "With the stop at Keeneland, the Breeders' Cup will be right there in the heart of Kentucky's breeding industry."
As for future Breeders' Cup events, Asher said there is no reason to believe it won't come back to Louisville. It just won't happen in the next three years as Santa Anita who has it this year, followed by Keeneland, then Del Mar.
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