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While Keeneland's spring race meet continues for the rest of April, the historic track is putting the focus on another of its functions.  Officials at the Lexington facility Wednesday unveiled what they are calling "major enhancements" to this year's yearling sale.   

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Keeneland opens its 2016 spring meet on Friday with new technologies for visitors new to the historic track. Keeneland spokeswoman Amy Gregory says the Race Day app now features a ‘bet simulator.’

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The upcoming Breeders Cup Championships in Lexington is bringing in record ticket sales.

President Craig Fravel says sales have reached $19 million, surpassing the previous high of $10 million.

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The president of Keeneland says the long term success of the historic track hinges on being able to attract youth to the sport. 

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  Tax breaks related to the high profile Breeders Cup Championships at Keeneland have been signed into law. 

The ceremony was held Tuesday at the state capitol. 

The law exempts the pari-mutuel tax on wagering on live races during the two-day event.  

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While many horse racing fans eagerly await early October for Keeneland's fall meet, horse sellers and buyers will stay busy for the next two weeks.  The annual September yearling sales event gets underway Monday.

With 13 sessions, Keeneland's September sales are billed worldwide as the top thoroughbred auction of the year.  Keeneland Spokeswoman Amy Gregory says major buyers from almost every state and 50 countries will be in town.  She says gross sales a year ago were up 27%.  "We're very optimistic going into this sale that we'll have a very robust sale.  There's lot of optimism in the thoroughbred industry right now and the market is very strong in sales that have been leading up to this September sale," said Gregory.

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Two Kentucky newspapers are reporting Keeneland will host the 2015 Breeders Cup World Championships.  Although not confirmed by the track or the Breeders Cup, reports in the Lousiville Courier Journal and Lexington Herald Leader cite sources indicating a formal announcement is expected later this month.  Kentucky Thoroughbred Association Director David Metsger said Keeneland is a good fit for the Breeders Cup.

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A barn fire near Keeneland in Lexington has taken the lives of eight Thoroughbred horses.

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A solid crop of one year olds, a mild summer, and a new format contributed to a break out September Yearling Sale at Keeneland. The just completed 12 day sale saw a 27% increase in gross sales over last year. Keeneland Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell called it ‘phenomenal,’ but adds prices have not yet recovered from the recession.

“We’ll never get back to pre recession times because once the financial crisis happened in 2008, it cut off a lot of credit to people to buy horses so those prices were highly inflated," said Russell. "So, now we’re down to and back to a very true and fair market that is discretionary income driven.”

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Keeneland will be featuring a number of new attractions and services at this year’s Spring Race Meet starting tomorrow. But one unwelcome change could be the amount of traffic – as major construction is set to continue on US60/Versailles Road for the next ten months. Keeneland spokesperson Julie Balog said state and local officials have been working with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to lessen the impact of the roadwork.

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