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Historic Ending For American Pharoah

Published: November 1, 2015 12:05 am ET

Last Comment: November 5, 2015 3:23 pm ET | 2 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Racing fans could not be blamed if they were asking what took so long after a spectacular renewal of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, including Triple Crown winner American Pharoah’s history-making win in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, in its inaugural homecoming to iconic Keeneland Race Course, in the heart of the Thoroughbred industry in Central Kentucky.

The Lexington track easily accommodated Breeders’ Cup guests from around the world over the two days with 50,155 on hand Saturday, a record attendance for Keeneland, on top 44,947 on Friday, both a Keeneland record that stood for one day and a record attendance for a Breeders’ Cup Friday.

And the racing itself did not disappoint. Zayat Stable’s American Pharoah became horse racing’s first Grand Slam winner, ending his career by gliding to a six-length victory over Keeneland’s main track for trainer Bob Baffert.

Popular sprinter Runhappy set a new track record in the Twin Spires Breeders’ Cup Sprint, and accomplished fillies Found (GB) and Tepin winning the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf and Breeders’ Cup Mile, respectively, running against males.

Total two-day common-pool handle for the Friday and Saturday race cards of the 32nd Breeders' Cup at Keeneland was $150,574,656, representing a half percent decrease over 2014 common-pool total of $151,794,174.

Common-pool wagering on Saturday's 12-race Breeders' Cup card was $105,625,491, a slight decrease over the 2014 handle of $105,979,062. The on-track handle for the two days at Keeneland was $20,611,114, up slightly over the $20,117,488 2014 on-track handle at Santa Anita.

The two-day total attendance of 95,102 was a slight decrease over the prior year. Breeders’ Cup officials said that ticket revenue for the event more than doubled over 2014 due primarily to the demand for high-end hospitality areas at Keeneland, many created especially for the Breeders’ Cup.

“This was a day that people will look back on and tell people they were here and it’s exactly why the Breeders’ Cup was created, to showcase the very best of our sport,” said Breeders' Cup President and CEO Craig Fravel. “We’re thrilled with the crowd over both days, the strong business levels and our gracious hosts here at Keeneland and the greater Lexington area.”

“The Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland has been a tremendous success in every way,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said, “from the brilliant performances of the Breeders’ Cup champions, both equine and human, to the huge crowds on track and the unprecedented way in which the Central Kentucky community embraced this great event. I couldn't be prouder of the Keeneland team who executed operations at the highest levels to provide guests with an incredibly memorable two days of racing.”

Breeders’ Cup will release total handle, including separate pools, early next week.

Breeders' Cup Two-Day Attendance and Handle (common-pool) history:
2015, Keeneland Race Course – 95,102; $150,574,656
2014, Santa Anita Park – 98,319; $151,794,174
2013, Santa Anita Park – 94,628; $160,704,877 (includes separate pools)
2012, Santa Anita Park – 89,742; $144,272,332
2011, Churchill Downs – 105,820; $161,512,867
2010, Churchill Downs – 114,353; $173,857,697
2009, Santa Anita Park – 96,496; $153,271,176
2008, Santa Anita Park – 86,588; $155,740,328
2007, Monmouth Park – 69,584; $129,197,262


November 5, 2015 - 3:23 pmnice horse, but shows the

Will Yamakva SAID...

nice horse, but shows the problem with today's industry.

As many fans this horse made of the sport, the fact he is gone already allows those casual fans to just turn horse racing back off again. I asked my friends that watched some races with me here at work over the weekend if they were going to watch again, and many of them only were watching AP.

Stars need to race past 3 years old to keep fans interested.

November 2, 2015 - 11:09 pmIt's been a pleasure watching

Jim Brown SAID...

It's been a pleasure watching American Pharoah race this year. It was nice to see him go out with a win. Congratulations to all the connections of this great three year-old. So for me, its back to the drawing board in March of 2016, I will be looking for my next derby winner. My true passion with racing is the standardbred's. Although I enjoy the challenge starting the first of March every year.

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