DEL MAR, Calif. (CNS) - Organizers of the Breeders' Cup World Championships are delaying ticket sales for the November horse racing event until there is more clarity from COVID-19 vaccine progress and event restrictions, it was announced Monday.
Drew Fleming, president and CEO of Breeders' Cup Limited, said it was still his intention to have fans in person at the two-day event, planned for Nov. 5-6 at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.
"As always, the health and safety of our fans, participants, employees, athletes and the public remain our top priority," he said. "We are working closely with Del Mar, local officials and public health experts to safely plan the 2021 World Championships.
"To ensure we have the most up-to-date safety protocols in place in compliance with CDC guidelines, including the permitted levels of attendance, we are delaying ticket sales for the 2021 Breeders' Cup World Championships until we have greater clarity on the ever-changing landscape. Rest assured, it is our strong intent to safely host fans at the 2021 World Championships," Fleming said.
Breeders Cup Limited operates the event, an annual series of Grade I Thoroughbred horse races which travels from venue to venue each year. Del Mar Thoroughbred Club last hosted the event in 2017, when horse Gun Runner won the Classic race.
It is one of the most popular horse racing events in the country, with attendance typically trailing only the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Kentucky Oaks and sometimes the Belmont Stakes. It is generally regarded as the end of the North American racing season.
The 2020 Breeders' Cup World Championships were held in Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky, with a $31 million purse. Fans were not in attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We applaud the frontline healthcare workers and essential personnel for providing heroic support and care, and the scientists who have developed vaccines under extraordinary circumstances," Fleming said. "With the COVID-19 vaccine now being rolled out across the country and internationally, we at the Breeders' Cup remain optimistic for the year ahead, and specifically for the 2021 World Championships."
Breeders' Cup Limited will send further updates and details in the coming months.