City continues downtown safety efforts as it prepares for Breeders’ Cup, Festival

After coordination with community leaders, business owners, and public safety professionals, the City will continue to identify steps that began last year to make downtown safer.

“We already have a lot of people downtown enjoying restaurants and other attractions, and we expect crowds to grow even larger for the Breeders’ Cup and the Breeders’ Cup Festival,” Mayor Linda Gorton said.

The Breeders’ Cup races are set for Nov. 4 and 5. The Breeders’ Cup Festival will be held Oct. 30 through Nov. 5.

“More police and deputies from the Sheriff’s Office are present downtown, a request heard from business owners and the community at large.  They have been especially helpful on weekends, and will be invaluable during the Breeders’ Cup Festival,” Gorton said. 

The city has taken numerous steps to improve safety, including an increased public safety presence downtown, closing Tandy Park Centennial Park an hour earlier at 2 a.m., new signage and improved lighting at Tandy, new lighting in parking lots, and restricted on-street parking along Short Street near the park.

The city continues to work with downtown business owners, work that began in the summer of 2021, through a Downtown Safety Work Group to identify additional steps to improve safety. “Our downtown businesses have been very supportive and helpful,” Gorton said.

The Downtown Lexington Management District is providing funding for increased public safety presence in the downtown area. In addition, Mayor Gorton included additional funding for police overtime during the Breeders’ Cup Festival in her FY23 budget, which was approved by the Urban County Council.

The schedule for Breeders’ Cup Festival events is available at

Mayor Linda Gorton speaks during a Breeders Cup Festival press conference Aug. 11, 2022. Photo by Amy Wallot