Planning in works for Del Mar’s first Breeders’ Cup

Tickets for the first-ever Breeders’ Cup horse race to be held at the Del Mar Race Track, one of the premier events on the sport’s annual calendar, are set to go on sale to the public March 6.

An executive with the Breeders’ Cup gave an update on planning for the event, set for Nov. 3-4, to the board of the 22nd District Agricultural Association, which oversees the state-owned Del Mar Fairgrounds and race track, at its meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 14.

“We’re so excited to show the world what Del Mar is about,” said Drew Fleming, senior vice president with the Breeders’ Cup organization.

“This is the Super Bowl of horse racing,” said Tim Fennell, CEO and general manager of the fairgrounds.

The Breeders’ Cup includes two days of horse racing, with a total of 13 races — plus an “under-card,” with purses and awards totaling $28 million, Fleming said.

“It’s the world’s richest two days of racing,” he said.

A Breeders’ Cup festival, which will start about a week before the races, will include such events as a golf tournament, concerts and a 10k run, said Fleming in an interview after the meeting. The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, host for the Breeder’s Cup, has proposed erecting a large party tent in Del Mar’s Powerhouse Park for events, and that request is pending approval by city officials.

Attendance will be capped at 37,000 for each day of the two-day racing event, smaller crowds than the more than 40,000 spectators who typically show up for opening day of Del Mar’s summer race season.

However, the Breeders’ Cup audience will include visitors from around the world, and the crowd could feature foreign sovereigns and heads of state, Fleming said.

“The small group that does come tends to spend a lot of money,” Fleming said.

Fleming pointed to a study commissioned by the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board, which looked at the economic impacts of the 2013 Breeders’ Cup, held at Santa Anita Park.

The study found that nearly 65,000 people attended the two-day event, with about two-thirds coming from outside of L.A. County. The report said visitors, members of the media, race participants and the host organization spent $39.5 million, while indirect economic benefits added up to some $35 million.

State and local tax coffers were boosted by $4.8 million, the report said.

Ticket prices will range from $35 for the infield, to $1,875 for premium dining packages, Fleming said.

The marquee race, the Breeders’ Cup Classic, carries a $6 million purse, said Fleming.

The Breeders’ Cup was first held in 1984 at Hollywood Park, and this year will mark the 34th annual edition of the event.

For more information about the Breeders’ Cup, or to buy tickets once they go on sale, visit