Breeders' Cup Outlines Championships Protocols


The Breeders' Cup outlines health and safety protocols for the 2021 World Championships, which take place Nov. 5-6 at Del Mar.


All Breeders' Cup runners are subject to:

  • Randomized out-of-competition (OOC) testing (beginning internationally in June and concluded Nov. 1, resulting in the collection of over 300 blood and hair samples
  • Expanded veterinary scrutiny in-stall and during training at Del Mar, Santa Anita and San Luis Rey Training Center
  • Mandatory trot up observations of every horse prior to being permitted to enter a racing surface
  • Comprehensive veterinary exams including diagnostics, if required, beginning Oct. 25
  • Surveillance following a mandatory equine security check-in Nov. 2
  • An additional round of testing for performance enhancing medications and prohibited substances on all horses entered starting Nov. 2, along with additional randomized onsite testing over the following days for a total of approximately 500 blood, hair and urine samples collected from all Breeders' Cup runners prior to the World Championships
  • Extensive post-race testing of the first four finishers as well as any other runner that did not perform as expected and others designated by the Stewards.

The Breeders' Cup's veterinary team includes Dr. Will Farmer, Dr. Deborah Lamparater and CHRB Equine Medical Director Dr. Jeff Blea. Veterinary protocols include observing all potential Breeders' Cup runners in the stabling area, on the track and in their stalls leading up to the event in addition to a mandatory pre-race evaluation Nov. 2 to ensure every runner is fit to race.


Breeders' Cup has retained a panel of racing surface experts, including Racetrack Safety Program Director Mick Peterson, Del Mar turf course superintendent Leif Dickinson and Del Mar racetrack superintendent Dennis Moore, to oversee testing and track maintenance in conjunction with Del Mar's racing surface team. Together, they will ensure consistency in both surfaces, measuring moisture content and footing across the surfaces and providing participants with real-time updates on track and turf conditions.


The Breeders' Cup and Del Mar have worked closely with local public health officials and infectious disease experts to implement health and safety protocols to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 during the World Championships. Among the experts enlisted to provide effective protocols have been set in place include Dr. Richard Greenberg–former Chief of Infectious Disease of the University of Kentucky and former employee of the Center for Disease Control; Scripps Health's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ghazala Sharieff; Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten and Chief Resiliency Officer Gary Johnston.

Protocols for attending this year's event include:

  • Unvaccinated individuals must wear face coverings indoors and outdoors when in close proximity to others. Face coverings should fully cover the mouth and nose and fit snugly against the sides of the face so there are no gaps.
  • Guests entering the facility or placing a bet are to practice physical distancing.
  • Guests are to refrain from congregating inside the grandstand and follow all posted signage and floor decals as well as any direction from Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and Breeders' Cup staff.
  • Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and Breeders' Cup staff have implemented enhanced cleaning and sanitization procedures throughout the facility.
  • Hand-sanitizing stations have been placed throughout the grandstand and additional staff will be on-site for cleaning high-touch areas.
  • Media and guests with tickets located on the 6th Floor (Il Palio Restaurant and Skyroom Suite Dining) will be required to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within the previous 72 hours.

For complete resources detailing Breeders' Cup's health and safety protocols for the 2021 World Championships, click here.

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