How the Breeders' Cup inspired California artists - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA

How the Breeders' Cup inspired California artists

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If you visited San Diego County recently, there's a good chance you stumbled across some spectacular life-size horse statues. If you visited San Diego County recently, there's a good chance you stumbled across some spectacular life-size horse statues.

(CNN) -- If you visited San Diego County recently, there's a good chance you stumbled across some spectacular life-size horse statues.

Painted by local Californian artists, 20 eye-catching effigies were dotted around local communities to celebrate the Breeders' Cup coming to Del Mar Racetrack for the first time in its 30-year history.

The 'Art of the Horse' campaign was commissioned by the Breeders' Cup Host Committee ahead of what is one of the world's richest horse races with a total purse of $6 million.

Each unique fiberglass figure is a replica of the Torrie Horse that sits on top of the Breeders' Cup trophy, which itself is a reproduction of the original created by Flemish sculptor, Giovanni de Bologna, in Florence, Italy, in the late 1580s.

Several of the latest statues have been placed at the Del Mar Racetrack and other locations such as The Lodge at Torrey Pines, San Diego Airport and downtown San Diego.

"It's shameless marketing," Joe Harper, the President and CEO of Del Mar Racetrack, told CNN's Winning Post.

"It's certainly made all the locals aware and gave a little flavor for Del Mar and even to the people who don't necessarily come out here.

"They're not necessarily equine artists. They've just got a blank horse -- a big white horse -- and they do what comes to your mind.

"Some have racetrack things on them, some look like Trojan war horses, others look like a whale or an American flag. It's kind of fun to get such a variety of different ideas from different artists."

The 2017 Breeders' Cup Classic was won by Gun Runner, under jockey Florent Geroux, and the 'Art of the Horse' statues will now be auctioned off to local and Thoroughbred charities.

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