Breeders Cup merchandise is prepared for the upcoming races this weekend.
Breeders’ Cup merchandise at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in 2017. Photo by Chris Stone

After successfully hosting the Breeders’ Cup for the first time in 2017, the prestigious horse race is returning to the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club again in 2021, it was announced Friday.

“The Breeders’ Cup World Championships had an incredibly successful debut last year at Del Mar and surpassed every expectation for both Breeders’ Cup and the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.” Breeders’ Cup president and CEO Craig Fravel said in a statement. “We are thrilled to collaborate with the Del Mar, Solana Beach and San Diego communities to once again create a world-class horse racing and entertainment experience at this remarkable location.”

The announcement has been expected for weeks but race and venue officials did not want to publicly comment until Friday’s announcement, though it has been an “open secret,” according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Last year, the Cup brought in nearly $100 million to the local economy, according to a report released earlier this year.

The study found that attending the event left 71 percent of attendees with a more favorable impression of San Diego than they previously had and 73 percent said they would like to return to the city the following year.

“Del Mar is delighted to again be hosting our sport’s championship days,” Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s chief executive officer Joe Harper said. “We know we put on a good show here in 2017 and we look forward to presenting an even better one in 2021.”

The Cup will be held on Nov. 2-3 in Churchill Downs this year. The race will alternate between Kentucky and California for the next three years.

The championship will be held in Santa Anita Park in 2019, Keeneland in 2020 and Del Mar in 2021.