By Olivia Ackermann
The end of horse racing season is nearly upon us, and with it comes thoroughbred racing’s most prestigious international event, The Breeders’ Cup World Championships. The Breeders’ Cup is a two-day 14-race, year-end culmination that every horse, jockey, trainer, and owner across the globe has in their sights, and this year, it will be held at Keeneland on November 4th & 5th.
Keeneland isn’t the only place you can find action during the Breeders’ Cup, with the Breeders’ Cup Festival ramping up the excitement the whole week leading up to the races from Sunday, October 30th, to Saturday, November 5th. Whether you are local to Lexington or coming into town for the festivities, there are plenty of events going on in #downtownlex for you to enjoy.
Kicking off the festival is the Isaac Murphy Art Garden Party and Family Stroll on Sunday, October 30th from 2pm to 6pm. Walk in the footsteps of legends as you journey from “Isaac To Oliver” along the newly finished Town Branch Commons starting at Isaac Murphy Art Garden and continuing to Oliver Lewis Way. Come back to IMMAG and enjoy kid’s activities courtesy of Keeneland, along with food trucks, live music and learn more about the early days of racing in Lexington. As a bonus, the first 300 walkers get a FREE commemorative long-sleeve T-Shirt!
On Monday, October 31st you can head to Rupp Arena for the Rood & Riddle Breeders’ Cup Post-Position Draw! This FREE event will allow you to witness history as post positions are drawn on the floor of Rupp Arena for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Keeneland. This championship venue will come alive with racing highlights of past and present Thoroughbred stars. All the owners and jockeys will learn where their run for a world championship begins! Doors open at 2pm with the draw taking place at 2:45pm. Head to the Breeders’ Cup Festival website for parking information!
If you’re a fan of music, food, drinks and fun (who isn’t), you’ll love the Tandy Park Takeover. All week long, Tandy Park will be the center of the Breeders’ Cup celebration with live music, food and broadcasts of all the training and activities from Keeneland. Local and regional entertainers like The Johnson Brothers, Lauren Mink, and even Yacht Rock Revue will perform nightly from 5:30pm to 10pm.
From November 1st through November 4th, you can enjoy current and film classics built around the world of horses at The Kentucky Theatre – featuring films such as “Secretariat” as well the recently acclaimed independent film “Jockey”. These classics feature scenes shot in and around the bluegrass region – including Keeneland, The Red Mile and many local horse farms as well. View showtimes here.
Greyline Station will be host to several unique experiences during the Breeders’ Cup Festival, including The Bourbon Showcase, which will feature bourbon tastings from over 20 distilleries, local Kentucky food, and music! Each distillery will share their bourbon and their unique stories in a truly one-of-a-kind environment. This one-of-a-kind opportunity is sure to be very popular – and is limited to only 250 guests per night (Wednesday, Nov. 2 – Friday, Nov. 4), so grab your spot while you can. Tickets can be purchased here.
Greyline Station will also be hosting an International Block Party on Friday, November 4th. The event will feature special food, cocktails and music offerings from around the world of racing. The vendors on site will take on the international flair and culture that comes with the Breeders’ Cup World Championships as the racing world converges on our city. Parking will be offered off-site at Legends Ball Park with free shuttle service to Greyline.
Whether you’re a horse-racing fanatic, or you just love an excuse to get out and be a part of the festivities, there will be something for everyone! Be sure to check out the full event schedule here!