The Breeders' Cup originated in 1982 when John R. Gaines proposed the idea during the Kentucky Derby Festival awards luncheon. Gaines was a celebrated thoroughbred owner and breeder who wanted to create an event that would clean the sport's image.
The first Breeders' Cup took place in 1984, its races operated by Breeders' Cup Limited, a company formed in 1982. The event was held in a single day from the first race in 1984 to 2006, when it was expanded to two days. The location of the event varies yearly, but it's generally held on American soil, with the exception of the 1996 event, which was held in Canada.