When is the Breeders’ Cup?

Keeneland clock racingIs the Breeders’ Cup Cancelled?

The good news is that the race goes on with the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.  The popular, annual event features purses worth over $31 million with race horses coming from all over the world to compete.  The dates are Friday, November 7 and Saturday, November 8 at Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, KY.

The bad news concerning the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland is that, just like many other sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fans will not be in attendance.

Top trainers with horses that will play a major factor include Chad Brown, Todd Pletcher and Aidan O’Brien.

Horseplayers can view all of the “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup prep race videos here.  Start handicapping now as the two cards are not easy to decipher.  Follow additional Breeders’ Cup news and notes right here on agameofskill.com

 

 

No Fans at Keeneland Meet which Begins Oct. 2

Keeneland black and white

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Keeneland announced that its 2020 Fall Meet, to be held Oct. 2-24, will be closed to the public due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Only a limited number of participants and essential personnel will be permitted to attend the live race meet.

Keeneland conducted its five-day Summer Meet in July without spectators but did allow a limited number of owners and essential personnel to attend.

“The safety of our employees, our participants and our fans remains Keeneland’s top priority,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “We have the most loyal fans in the world and we cannot wait for the day when we can welcome them back for live racing. The decision to close the meet to the public was made after consulting with local and state government officials and public health experts and monitoring how various sporting venues and events around the world have operated during the pandemic. With the guidance of these experts and lessons learned from recent events, we know this is the responsible course of action.”

“Sunday’s kickoff of the 12-day September Yearling Sale, which is followed by the Fall Meet, the Breeders’ Cup World Championships and the November Breeding Stock Sale, marks the beginning of a significant three months of business for Keeneland and the horse industry as a whole,” Keeneland President-Elect and Interim Head of Sales Shannon Arvin said. “It is paramount that we conduct our sales and racing operations in a safe and responsible manner that promotes the health and success of everyone involved.

“We will remain flexible and vigilant leading up to and throughout our Fall Meet to ensure that we observe the most current health and safety protocols and respond to any changes in a timely and thoughtful manner,” Arvin added.

To combat the spread of COVID-19, strict compliance with the following health and safety protocols will be required for participants and employees while they are at Keeneland. Similar protocols were in place for the Summer Meet and are in effect for Keeneland’s current September Yearling Sale:

·       Individuals permitted to come onto the Keeneland grounds will be credentialed or ticketed in advance. Seating will be assigned and properly social distanced on race days.

·       Participants include those with a competing horse, including a limited number of owners and trainers. Keeneland also will allow limited access to sponsors, box holders and Club members.

·       Keeneland will not permit any general admission or walk-up attendees. Credentialed participants will be assigned a seat for the race day.

·       Keeneland will maintain records to allow for contact tracing.

·       Health screenings, including a series of questions and temperature checks, will continue at all entrance gates.

·       All individuals must wear a face mask and maintain proper social distancing while at Keeneland.

Covid-19 Pandemic forces shuffling of New Mexico horse racing meet

“We are — all of us — in a terrible situation right now with regard to COVID-19,” he said. “It is truly a period of uncertainty and things are changing on a daily basis. My hope is that things look completely different in a few weeks and we have a fan base and casinos are open and much of this is behind us. But none of us know that.”

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — With the New Mexico State Fair being called off, the horse races that usually coincide with the annual event are being cancelled too.

State regulators during a special meeting Wednesday approved a motion to nix the state fair race meet. They also approved changes to the race dates and stakes schedule for The Downs at Albuquerque.

The changes mean this year’s meet at The Downs will start later, running from Aug. 8 through Sept. 20, when the state fair races would have otherwise been happening.

New Mexico’s horse tracks and their associated casinos have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. After a brief hiatus, races resumed at Ruidoso Downs in May but without spectators and the casinos remain closed under a public health order issued by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

The revenue brought in by the casinos during race meets helps to subsidize racing. Without the slot machines and tables, some track owners have suggested losses per day could reach in to the tens of thousands of dollars.

To help offset some of the expenses, an agreement reached between The Downs and associations that represent horse owners and breeders call for $100 per head start fee for the upcoming races in Albuquerque.

Representatives for the groups told members of the state Racing Commission during the meeting that the fee should be considered as a one-time option given the circumstances brought on by the pandemic. If casinos were to reopen and fans allowed in the stands by the time racing starts in August, the fee would be reconsidered.

Richard Erhard, executive director of the New Mexico Horsemen’s Association, said it’s hard to know what public health orders will be in place in the coming months.

What is certain, he said, is that owners want to race.

“We are — all of us — in a terrible situation right now with regard to COVID-19,” he said. “It is truly a period of uncertainty and things are changing on a daily basis. My hope is that things look completely different in a few weeks and we have a fan base and casinos are open and much of this is behind us. But none of us know that.”

The Racing Commission had previously approved an agreement to redistribute more than $3.2 million in purse taxes due to cancellations at the Sunland Park and SunRay tracks earlier in the season. The commission still has to consider at its upcoming meeting whether to allow The Downs to take on the stakes races that would have been run during the state fair.

News that Queen’s Plate will run on this Date

North America’s oldest continuously run horse race [the Queen’s Plate] was originally scheduled to take place on June 27 but was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The history of The Queen’s Plate is so rich and the fact that it’s been held every year since the inaugural race in 1860 is remarkable,” said Woodbine Entertainment CEO Jim Lawson. “We are honoured to be able to continue this rich history in face of adversity by hosting the race for the 161st consecutive year.”