The Breeders' Cup was created in 1984 as a year-end Thoroughbred racing championship. Lexington horseman John Gaines thought of it as a way to gather the best horses of the year for what would be the some of the most competitive, and most lucrative, races of the year. No purse is less than $1 million and the Classic pays out $5 million. Although the Breeders' Cup has been held at Churchill Downs before, this is the first time at Keeneland. Some added excitement will come in the form of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, who will be racing in the Classic on Saturday.
Here are some of the frequently asked questions about this event:
Is it still possible to get tickets? It all depends. Most of the best tickets to watch the races from the grandstand, boxes, specialty entertainment or general admission to the track areas sold out months ago. The Breeders' Cup does offer a reselling service, so it might be possible to score tickets at breederscup.com/tickets.
Tickets are left to two satellite locations, one indoors and one out.
■ The Keene Barn and Entertainment Center will have betting, TVs, a complimentary buffet, live music and a cash bar. This option includes general admission access at the track, to which fans can be shuttled back and forth.
Tickets Friday: $125; Saturday: $200; two-day package: $325.
Onsite parking is also available for purchase for $25 per pass per day.
■ The Hill is the outdoor option, with big screens to watch the action and betting. It will feature live music and food from City BBQ, Papa John's and food trucks, as well as premium cash bars.
There is no track view with this access. Price is per vehicle, not per person. Friday: $35 per vehicle; Saturday: $50 per vehicle. Two-day package: $85 per vehicle
For ticket information call 877-849-4287.
Will it be hard to get to the track if I want to go? Expect about the same traffic as a big stakes day at Keeneland. The Keeneland folks have gotten traffic down to a science. Getting home could be another situation as there's a 7:30 p.m. UK-Tennessee football game at Commonwealth Stadium. Keeneland officials have been working with state and local police for many months, said Keeneland spokeswoman Amy Gregory, and they have set up shuttle hubs at Whitaker Bank Ballpark, Rupp Arena and Kentucky Horse Park to lessen the number of cars on Versailles Road.
Is it better to go on Friday or Saturday? On Friday, the Breeders' Cup portion of the card doesn't start until 3:30 p.m. and only features four races. Saturday will be a much bigger day, with nine races that end with the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, which this year features Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.
How big will the crowd be each day? Breeders' Cup spokesman Jim Gluckson said they're expecting between 42,000 and 44,000 people all across Keeneland both days. That's a smaller crowd than past Breeders' Cups in California or at Churchill Downs, but that was the plan.
"The idea was not to place as many people as possible," Gluckson said. "This is the kind of number we're looking at for everyone to have a good experience."
On big days, Keeneland routinely sees more than 35,000 people without all the extra seating areas that have now been temporarily installed.
How do fans dress for the Breeders' Cup? Anyone in the Keeneland Clubhouse will have to observe the normal dress code during the meet, jacket and tie for men, dresses or "race day attire" for women. "No denim, tennis shoes or abbreviated attire." Gluckson said there's been a trend of people dressing up for the big races, but there's no sartorial tradition such as Derby hats.
Can I party on the infield like at the Kentucky Derby? No. It's never been considered, said Keeneland spokeswoman Amy Gregory. "We want to keep the ambiance the same as what people know of Keeneland."
Tickets are available for an area near the track that Keeneland calls "The Hill," which promises more of a tailgating-like experience.
Will I see any celebrities? Celebrities, such as model Kate Upton and restaurateur Bobby Flay are expected, but they will probably be tucked away in VIP areas. Another big name that's been mentioned but not confirmed is famed British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.
What else is there to do at the track other than watch races? Eat, drink, socialize, bet, listen to live music, people watch.
Are there Breeders' Cup events not at the track? The Breeders' Cup Festival will feature a weeklong roster of events in Lexington, including live music, art exhibits, bourbon tastings, plays, parties and horse farm tours. Go to breederscupfestival.com/upcoming.
Will the Breeders' Cup make getting around town difficult? There will definitely be a lot of people in town, both in cars and on foot downtown. Downtown hotels are sold out, many restaurants are booked, and there will be live music starting Oct. 24 every evening at the courthouse plaza from 6:45 p.m. to 10 p.m. The annual Thriller Parade will fill downtown with zombies and fans on Oct. 25. And don't forget the Oct. 31 home football game against Tennessee. Plan out routes and timing carefully.