Del Mar gets back-to-back Breeders' Cups, will be awarded 2025 event

Del Mar's turf course is scheduled to host seven stakes races on the final two days of the meeting.
Del Mar will host the Breeders' Cup in both 2024 and 2025. Next year will be the third time it has hosted the two-day event. (K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Del Mar will host back-to-back Breeders’ Cups, after it was announced that the boutique race track will be the site of the year-end horse racing championships on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 in 2025.

The announcement was supposed to be made Thursday but the Breeders’ Cup moved it up after The Times reported the move Wednesday afternoon.

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.

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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.

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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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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.