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Breeders’ Cup coming back to Keeneland. Announcement expected Friday.

American Pharoah with Victor Espinoza up are led through the  paddock to the track before the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Saturday,  Oct. 31, 2015, at Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington. The championships apparently are returning to Lexington in 2020.
American Pharoah with Victor Espinoza up are led through the paddock to the track before the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015, at Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington. The championships apparently are returning to Lexington in 2020. TeamCoyle

The Breeders’ Cup, the annual championships of Thoroughbred racing, are coming back to Keeneland in 2020, according to reports. An announcement is coming Friday at 3 p.m. at Keeneland.

The track, which did not respond immediately to a request for comment, sent out a notice that Keeneland president Bill Thomason, U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, Kentucky state Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and other guests would hold a press conference in the paddock for a major announcement.

The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that the Breeders’ Cup, which is headquartered in Lexington, will announce three years of locations on Friday: Santa Anita in 2019, Keeneland in 2020 and Del Mar in 2021.

The championships are at Churchill Downs in Louisville this fall, Nov. 2 and 3. They are held at a different track every year and the Times reported that the rumored return had been circulating widely in the horse industry.

The Breeders’ Cup did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation or comment.

The Breeders’ Cup came to Keeneland for the first time 2015, the year that Triple Crown winner American Pharoah capped his racing career with the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray’s office declined to comment on the report.

Lexington officials planned days of activities for thousands visitors who poured into the city. Hotels, restaurants and even the Blue Grass Airport were impacted by the event. More than 450 private jets came to the airport for the two-day races.

According to an economic impact study, the championships had $65 million in impact on Lexington.

According to the Breeders’ Cup in 2015, the Lexington races set a new standard for hosting, and for ticket sales, which were up over the previous year, according to Craig Fravel, Breeders’ Cup president and CEO.

Fans at Keeneland in Lexington reacted to American Pharoah's historic win in the Breeders' Cup Classic in 2015.

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