The Breeders Cup

History of the Breeders’ Cup

The Breeders’ Cup is a festival of top class racing staging a multitude of Group 1 races on turf and dirt. The venue alters every season but all bar one have been held in the United States, the exception being 1996 when the meeting was held at the Woodbine Racetrack in Canada. Churchill Downs has hosted the meeting eight times. There is always a large European contingent and they have been increasing successful in plundering the top prizes, particularly on turf. The meeting, originally a single day in 1984, was extended to two days in 2007 and regularly attracts top class horses from around the World.

There are 14 Breeders’ Cup Championship races with a maximum field of 14 starters and a selection process has been introduced to select the best entries to compete when an event is oversubscribed. The Turf and Classic are traditionally the last two races with Day 1 closing with the Filly & Mare Turf and Ladies’ Classic. The Blue Riband event is the Classic that closes the meeting with a $5million purse.

The Breeders’ Cup was founded in 1982 by John R. Gaines, a leading Thoroughbred owner and breeder. Huge prize money was put into the event and it was the richest day in horse racing until surpassed by Dubai World Cup Night in 2008.

The most successful jockeys in the meeting’s history are Jerry Bailey and Mike Smith with fifteen winners apiece. Julie Krone became the first female rider to win at the 2003 Breeders’ Cup when she rode Halfbridled to victory in the Juvenile Fillies. D. Wayne Lukas is the most successful trainer with eighteen Breeders’ Cup successes.

In 2010, the French mare Goldikova became the most successful horse in the history of the Breeders’ Cup when she took the mile for a third consecutive year. There have been ten horses that have won twice at the meeting. Tiznow (Classic 2000, 2001), Ouija Board (Filly & Mare Turf 2004, 2006), Bayakoa (Ladies’ Classic 1989, 1990), Miesque (Mile 1987, 1988), Lure (Mile 1992, 1993), Da Hoss (Mile 1996, 1997), Midnight Lute (Sprint 2007, 2008), High Chaparral (Turf 2002, 2003), Conduit (Turf 2008, 2009) and Zenyatta (Ladies Classic 2008 and Classic 2009).

Betting on the Breeders’ Cup

There is an ante-post market on every race at the Breeders’ Cup meeting. The Classic, Turf and Mile races attract the most interest in the betting market, with popular European runners frequently involved. Most online racebooks will have prices up in October. It pays to keep up-to-date with running plans as the Breeders’ Cup comes at the end of a long flat season in the UK and the horses that are kept fresh often fare better than those that have been racing throughout the summer.

Full racecard for the 29th Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita:

Friday 2nd November 2012

$500,000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint (ungraded)

The most recent addition to the Breeders’ Cup meeting, the Juvenile Sprint is for 2-year-old’s running three quarters of a mile around one turn. The first winner was Secret Circle in 2011.

$500,000 Breeders’ Cup Marathon (gr. II)

The Marathon is the longest of all Breeders’ Cup races. It is a 1 ¾ mile race for 3-year-olds and upwards. The Europeans won the first two runnings with Muhannak (2008) and Man of Iron (2009).

$1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. I)

The Juvenile Fillies Turf is a one-mile event for 2-year-old fillies and Europe almost won the first running in 2008 when Heart Shaped was beaten in a photo by Maram.

$2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I)

The Juvenile Fillies is a race run on the dirt track for 2-year-old fillies over a mile and regularly produces the Champion North American filly of the season.

$2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. I)

This 1 ¼ mile race for fillies and mares has been won by European raiders on five occasions with Sir Henry Cecil’s Midday successful in 2009 and runner-up in 2010 .

$2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (gr. I)

The Ladies’ Classic is for the top fillies and mares on dirt racing over a mile and was won by the great Zenyatta at Santa Anita in 2008.

Saturday 3rd November 2012

$1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. I)

A mile race for two-year-colts that has been won three times in five years by European runners with Wrote winning for Ireland last season under Ryan Moore.

$1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I)

This is a race of about seven furlongs on dirt restricted to fillies and mares.

$1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I)

The world’s fastest Thoroughbreds competing over six furlongs on dirt. Sheikh Albadou (1991) remains the only European winner. Dayjur should have won the previous year but jumped a shadow on the course in the closing stages and finished second.

$1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (gr. I)

The Turf Sprint is run over a distance of just in excess of six furlongs for horses of three-years-old and upwards.

$1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I)

The Dirt Mile is a race for 3-year-olds and upwards around two turns of the main track at Santa Anita Park.

$3 million Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. I)

The Breeders’ Cup Turf is one of the feature races of the meeting. It is run over 1½ miles and has been harvested by European raiders since Pebbles won back in 1985. St Nicholas Abbey continued the European domination in last year’s race.

$2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I)

The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile is the richest 2-year-old race in North America and is restricted to colts. Arazi was a sensational winner for France in 1991.

$2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. I)

The world’s best milers compete on grass. The most famous winner of this race was Royal Academy under Lester Piggott in 1990 before Goldikova’s famous run of victories between 2008 and 2010.

$5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I)

This race brings the meeting to a close and regularly attracts the best North American and International thoroughbreds for the huge $5 million prize. The great Cigar won in 1995 and in 2010 the race ended in heartbreak as the mighty Zenyatta lost her unbeaten record when failing to catch Blame in a thrilling finish.

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