Keeneland is Perfect for the 2015 Breeders' Cup
Keeneland may not be the perfect venue for every Breeders' Cup. Lexington isn't a large town. Outside of the college, some might say that it's sort of a sleepy town. Keeneland Race Course is small. Even with the changes for the 2015 Breeders' Cup, they've expanded Keeneland to add capacity, one of America's most prestigious and beautiful race tracks, will never allow for the Breeders' Cup Event atmosphere that Churchill Downs, Belmont or Santa Anita allow for.
But, for 2015, one of the most unique and exciting years in the past 50 of the sport, there is no better place to have a Breeders' Cup than at Keeneland. In Lexington, the grass is indeed blue. While that alone won't force you to go to Keeneland, the fact that every single individual living in Lexington appears to understand horse racing should. By every body, I mean the nice folks at the Best Western I stayed at , the waiters and waitresses at the Cracker Barrel I ate lunch at, and anybody on the streets I met. I visited Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Home and got a chance to visit with Special Ring, a horse that had won me a few bucks while racing over the turf in Southern California. I went to Versailles, KY, about 25 minutes from Lexington, and visited Winstar Farms to see Tiznow, another horse that had put a few coins in my pockets on more than one occasion.
It worked out that this is the perfect year to have a Breeders' Cup at Keeneland. As far as the actual racing goes, both the turf course and the dirt course have been playing fair. There is no golden rail, like there used be before the artificial track experiment. Great front running speed is winning. False front running speed isn't. Favorites that deserve to win do win. False favorites don't win. Long shots with a chance have to be included. But those long shots with no chance are better left off your tickets. We should all expect a very fair Breeders' Cup come Oct. 30 and Oct. 31.But, there is another, almost magical reason why 2015 is a special year to have the Breeders' Cup at Keeneland. Santa Anita, which has hosted the last 3 Breeders' Cups in a row and will do so in 2016, is more of a family venue than a horse racing venue. Sure, the races matter, but there is so much for the kids to do at Santa Anita that a lot of times parents might take their children for an afternoon in the Great Race Place's infield in lieu of spending gobs of money at Disneyland or some other theme park.
Keeneland is all about horse racing. Lexington is all about horse racing with a bit of college basketball mixed in. This year's Breeders' Cup will feature the first Triple Crown winner in the past 37 years in American Pharoah. What's wonderful is that Pharoah's main rival is going to be one of the greatest female horses to ever live. Both horses want to kick your ass. Pharoah is Ryu and Beholder is Chun Li in an awesome game of Street Fighter.
Can you think of a better venue than Keeneland for a battle like that?