May 29, 2024

Del Mar will host back-to-back Breeders’ Cups, with officials set to announce this this week that the boutique race track will be the site of the year-end horse racing championships in 2025, according to three people with knowledge of the situation not authorized to speak publicly.

The 2025 race will be held Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.

The last time the same track held consecutive Breeders’ Cups was 2012 to 2014 at Santa Anita. In many ways, the decision is one based on necessity. Since 2008, only four tracks have hosted the event: Santa Anita, Del Mar, Churchill Downs and Keeneland.

Keeneland took itself out of the running for 2025 when it announced last month that it planned major construction projects to include a permanent paddock building. The project is set to begin in January and be finished in the fall of 2025.

The Breeders’ Cup and Churchill Downs do not appear to be in the same place when it comes to a revenue sharing agreement for the event. Essentially, the Breeders’ Cup rents the facility for the event, but how all the revenue is distributed is a negotiation. Churchill Downs last hosted the Breeders’ Cup in 2018.

It’s unclear whether Santa Anita even bid for the 2025 event. Santa Anita was the host for the 11th time last weekend, with an announced attendance of 109,624 for the two days. Based on the on-track handle and attendance, the average amount that a person bet at Santa Anita over the two days was about $177. That is consistent with most big days there.

Last year, at Keeneland, the average amount bet by customers was $243. In 2021 at Del Mar, which is a smaller facility with more well-heeled patrons, the average amount bet by people at the track was $404.

Because Del Mar is owned by the state, its attendance figures are public record and audited. Keeneland is run by a nonprofit but is subject to some reporting protocols. Santa Anita is private and not subject to public auditing.

Once construction at Belmont Park is complete, the New York track is expected to be added to the rotation of hosts. The last time the Breeders’ Cup was at Belmont was in 2005.

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