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Yukon Territories

A Weeklong Celebration: 2022 Breeders’ Cup Festival Has Something for Everyone

When Keeneland hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships for the first time in 2015, the venerable racetrack and city of Lexington, Kentucky pulled out all the stops to provide thousands of participants with an unforgettable experience. Unfortunately, return engagement in 2020 has been severely curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic and fans have been banned from attending the two-day Breeders’ Cup while Lexington and the rest of the world are still operating under many social restrictions.

Two years later, however, the World Championships are returning to the heart of horse country and Keeneland, the Breeders’ Cup, VisitLEX and all partners have had a sensational week of events leading up to the 5/4 races.

Here is a guide for 2022 Breeders Cup Festival for those coming from out of town (or the country) as well as locals ready to celebrate a get together for an extended good time, ideally ending with some historic performances at the circuit and some cash in the process to win.

The festival runs from Sunday 30th October to the Breeders’ Cup on Saturday 5th November. Most events are free and open to the public. Click here to check availability and buy remaining Breeders’ Cup 2022 tickets here.

Sunday 30 October – Thursday 3 November

Breakfast at the Breeders’ Cup

Central Kentucky residents know there is something special about visiting Keeneland in the morning hours, and all week long the Breeders’ Cup welcomes fans to the track to watch practice, hang out with owners, trainers and jockeys and all that magnificent terrain at the summit to enjoy the fall foliage season. Participation is free of charge, food and drinks can be purchased.

Sunday October 30th

Isaac Murphy Art Garden Party and Family Walk

This family-oriented walk honors pioneering African-American jockeys Isaac Murphy and Oliver Lewis. It begins at the Isaac Murphy Art Garden downtown and continues to Oliver Lewis Way. After the walk, families can take part in children’s activities and enjoy food trucks and live music at the Art Garden. The event runs from 2pm to 6pm and the first 300 walkers will receive a free commemorative long sleeve t-shirt.

Monday 31 Oct

Breeders’ Cup Post Position Draw at the Rupp Arena

Fans enjoy free entry to the home stadium of the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team to watch the 39th-season placement drawth World Championships from 3 p.m

Monday 31st October – Saturday 5th November

Acquisition of Tandy Park

Downtown Tandy Park is located one block between Main Street and Short Street next to the old Fayette Co. Courthouse (now the site of several corporations including the Breeders’ Cup). Tandy Park is a summertime venue that hosts the popular Thursday Night Live concert series – and for Breeders’ Cup week the energy returns nightly, with free concerts from 5:30pm to 10pm and outdoor food truck and drink service , and large video boards to watch the races from November 4th to 5th.

click here to the concert schedule.

Selection of ABR employees:

  • Yacht Rock Revue on Tuesday November 1st for those old enough to remember the days when the Little River Band and Pablo Cruise were in heavy radio rotation
  • Johnson Brothers on Thursday, November 3rd, perhaps the best Boomer-era cover band in the region
  • Honeychild on Friday November 4th purveyor of energetic R&B and soul.

Monday 31 Oct – Friday 4 Nov

Horse Film Festival

The historic Kentucky Theater on Main Street reopened in February after an extended closure due to COVID-19, and watching movies there remains a great experience. The Kentucky will be hosting a four-night mini-festival featuring some great horse-themed films, admission is $6.50. Last in line is the critically acclaimed 2021 indie film Jockey, set to premiere on November 4th in Lexington. click here for the schedule and game times.

Tuesday November 1st

Race track pastoral care night of faith, hope and love

The Race Track Chaplaincy of America will hold an event to celebrate their 50th anniversaryth Anniversary of Service to the Thoroughbred Industry, beginning with a complimentary dinner at 5:00 p.m., followed by a 5:45 p.m. ceremony that will include a church service, celebrity speakers and giveaways, and the announcement of the 2022 White Horse Award. All backstretch workers and the general public are invited to this event which will be held at Silks Lawn Chalet in Keeneland.

Wednesday 2 Nov

Trendy filly lunch

Proceeds from this event, held from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm at the premier downtown Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse, benefit the Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation, which provides financial aid and support to those in need in the thoroughbred industry. The luncheon, which honors Keeneland CEO Shannon Arvin and owner/breeder Helen Alexander, will feature food stations, cocktails, live music and fashion shopping provided by local boutiques. Tickets start at $150 and are available to purchase here.

Wednesday 2nd November – Friday 4th November

The bourbon storefront

For three nights, bourbon tastings from over 20 distilleries will be offered for a maximum of 250 guests per night. The Bourbon Showcase, held at the Clerestory in North Lexington’s hip new shopping mall Greyline Station, will also feature local food and musical entertainment. click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Friday 4th Nov

International block party at Greyline station

This open-to-all event kicks off at 5pm on Friday when the Future Stars Friday card expires at the Breeders’ Cup. The Greyline Station takes on the spirit of international racing, with food, cocktails and music from countries around the world. Parking is available outside of nearby Legends Ball Park with complimentary shuttle service to Greyline Station.

Friday 4th Nov

Thoroughbred Charities Bash at the Breeders’ Cup

Wrap up the first day of Breeders’ Cup racing with this fundraiser at the Grand Reserve on Manchester Street featuring specialty cocktails, food and music and a live auction. This event benefits the Thoroughbred Charities of America and begins at 6:30 p.m. click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Saturday November 5th

Breeders’ Cup Lounge at the Grand Reserve

Once the final World Championship races are official, cap off an exciting week with a late-night afterparty at the Grand Reserve with a cash bar and music by DJ K-Dogg. The celebration runs from 9:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. and admission is $20 for those 21 and older. click here for tickets.

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