2022 Breeders’ Cup Generated More Than $81 Million in Economic Impact on Lexington Area

March 17, 2023

Flightline soars in the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Classic (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)

Breeders’ Cup Press Release

LEXINGTON, Ky.— The 2022 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Keeneland Race Course generated a total estimated economic impact of $81,846,897 in Lexington, Ky. and the surrounding areas. Determined by a recent study led by University of Louisville Economics Professor Thomas E. Lambert, Ph.D., the results represent the second-highest economic impact recorded in Breeders’ Cup history, following the record set in 2017 at Del Mar. The study’s results serve as a testament to the continued growth of the Breeders’ Cup, Breeders’ Cup Festival, and Thoroughbred racing, as well as the undeniable value all three provide to their host communities.

On top of these glowing economic indicators, the 2022 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, held last Nov. 4-5, generated record global wagering of $189.1 million, the highest in Breeders’ Cup history, 3.4 percent higher than the prior record of $182.9 million set in 2021. Records were also set for individual day wagering totals with Future Stars Friday registering $66.1 million and the Championship Saturday program amassing $122.9 million.

The economic benefits of the Breeders’ Cup quantified in this study include:

  • $30.5 million in on-track spending including wagering, concessions, parking, merchandise, and more
  • $33.6 million in spending on hotels, retailers, food and drink, transportation, and off-track entertainment
  • $10 million in track improvement investments for Keeneland Race Course, with $7.5 million in labor and material costs generated by the projects boosting the Lexington economy by an estimated $17.5 million overall
  • $900,000 secured in state and local tax revenues and $5.3 million secured in federal tax revenues

“When the Breeders’ Cup comes to town, Lexington has the opportunity to step into the international spotlight and demonstrate why we are known as the Horse Capital of the World–clearly, we’re home to the best track in the world, Keeneland, and to the best Thoroughbreds,” Mayor Linda Gorton said. “However, the Breeders’ Cup is about much more than bragging rights. The event has a significant economic impact that helps our hotels, our restaurants, and our entire community.”

“We are proud of the positive economic impact the 2022 World Championships had on the Lexington community, our hometown,” said Drew Fleming, President and CEO of the Breeders’ Cup. “After enduring a global pandemic, we held true to our word and returned to Keeneland just two years after the 2020 edition with an understanding of the needed boost the World Championships would give local businesses. Keeneland and Lexington are intimately connected to the history of our great sport, and it was wonderful to work with our highly engaged community to host an event that benefited everyone involved. I also enjoyed once again having the opportunity to work with Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin, Festival Chairman Kip Cornett, the VisitLEX Tourism Board, and Mayor Linda Gorton to execute a successful weeklong event, welcome guests from around the world to the Horse Capital of the World, and collaborate with local businesses to foster economic growth opportunities for the region and community members.”

In tandem with the economic successes and community impact of the 2022 Breeders’ Cup, the World Championships featured two days of best-in-class racing under the safest possible conditions to benefit horses, riders, participants, fans, and bettors. Ticket purchasers traveled to Lexington from all 50 states and from 18 different countries, contributing to a significant increase in traffic at Blue Grass Airport. Breeders’ Cup also successfully promoted several charitable initiatives throughout the week.

“The results of this study show with certainty that Lexington fully embraces the Breeders’ Cup,” Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin said. “Breeders’ Cup and Keeneland share a mission to conduct racing at the highest levels of quality, safety, and integrity, and to contribute to our community. It was a pleasure to work again with Drew Fleming and the team at Breeders’ Cup, and we thank them, our industry partners, and Central Kentucky business and civic leaders who teamed with us to provide a warm welcome and outstanding hospitality to fans and racing connections from around the world.”

“Breeders’ Cup 2022 was an outstanding weekend of racing, hospitality, and economic impact,” said Mary Quinn Ramer, president of VisitLEX. “We know there is no better place around the globe for championship racing than here in Lexington, the Horse Capital of the World, and we applaud Breeders’ Cup’s decision to bring the 2022 event to our city.”

The 2023 Breeders’ Cup World Championships will be held Nov. 3-4 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.

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